Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Standing During the National Anthem

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | May 25, 2018

No. 1,494

Image: starsandstripesfc.com

Back in the day, I remember being required to sign a statement from time to time that I was not a member and had never been a member of certain organizations that were deemed to be affiliated with the Communist Party.  I hadn’t even heard of most of them and I doubt whether very many were even in existence at the time. I had no desire to join such an organization or give support in any way. But I assumed that anybody who would ever admit to such a membership would be in a lot of trouble. So did everyone else. That meant that the whole exercise was pointless. This waste of paper did not improve our national security in any way.  Loyalty oaths never do.

Standing during the National Anthem is a form of loyalty oath. So is the pledge of allegiance.  Some people may want to declare their allegiance to the USA but there are always a few who do not. When declarations of loyalty are forced, they become meaningless. People who don’t want to take the pledge may do it to avoid social pressure.  But  the act of forcing the body does not change the mind.

I choose to stand during the playing  of the National Anthem because I want to declare my loyalty to my nation. Having a choice is what living in America is about. But if someone else wants to stay seated, in the spirit of freedom, I’ll ignore that gesture. America also stands for tolerance.

By permitting players to stay off the field during the playing of the National Anthem, the NFL gave players the right to opt out of participating in a public declaration. That’s a good thing.  But the NFL doesn’t owe them the right to stage a public protest on the playing field.

To those who say that the players have that right under the First Amendment, may I remind you that the NFL is not the government.  At least, not yet.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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