WTVM Editorial 9/2/16: Kaepernick’s socks

WTVM Editorial 9/2/16: Socks and free speech

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – We all know the value of free speech in our democratic Republic: citizens can say or do almost anything to express their opinions, except if it's libelous…or causes harm to someone else.

The NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is exercising free speech when he refuses to stand for the national anthem.

Embracing free speech means we have to acknowledge he has the right to sit down even if we don't like it. Now, Kaepernick has pushed his anti-anthem stance even further by wearing socks picturing pigs wearing police hats.

It may be juvenile, and it may be in bad taste and it may even deeply offend you, but it's just another expression of free speech.

The only speech that directly causes harm such as inciting actual violence is prohibited: for instance, if someone expressly advocates the killing of a specific person or group.

Sure, Colin Kaepernick's socks are offensive to many of us. He may even think it's some sort of clever, silent message since Kaepernick has said aloud he believes police are murdering young black men.

He chooses to exercise his free speech and it's already gotten him more publicity than money could buy. It doesn't mean he's right, or that anyone has to believe what he says, but his right to say it is the very cornerstone of our freedom.

Don't watch his games or buy products he endorses if you disagree with him or dislike his tactics. That's your right. But none of us would want to live in an America where we could not freely express our views or where the government filters every view it found undesirable.

That's what's so wonderful about the American ideal of freedom.

Say anything, unless it directly harms others. But having had your say, move over, and give the same respect to a different opinion. And never try to take freedom of expression from anyone else.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton road 
Columbus, GA 31906

Copyright 2016 WTVM. All rights reserved.