Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hank and the First Amendment: A Primer

To no one's great surprise, ESPN and Hank Williams have parted ways after he compared Obama and Boehner playing golf to Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu playing golf. Just as well; we've been subjected to that retarded "Are you ready for some football" song for 20 FUCKING YEARS. About damn time to shake things up.

Anyway, Hank immediately played the Victim Card:
"After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision," he wrote in a statement on his website. "By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It's been a great run."

No.

Here's what the First Amendment actually says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

First phrase: CONGRESS shall make no law. Not ESPN shall make no law. The First Amendment is designed to keep the GOVERNMENT from telling you what you can and can't say, not ESPN or any other basic cable network. Or your employer. Or your Mom. Or any other non-governmental body. Hank Williams Jr. and ESPN had a mutually beneficial business relationship. When ESPN decided that it would no longer be beneficial, they cancelled it. I have no idea what kind of contract ESPN and Bocephus had, but I'm sure it didn't contain a provision saying that "ESPN will not terminate its relationship with Williams Jr. because of any retarded thing he says in public." But there's not First Amendment involvement here at all.

(Of course, over the years, courts have added a number of exceptions to the seemingly plain "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." It's illegal to threaten to kill someone, for example, even though that's a law abridging the freedom of speech. But that's neither here nor there.)

Oh, one more thing: I fully support Hank's right to say whatever the fucks he wants. If he wants to say Obama faked the moon landing and is secretly a Chinese spy, go for it. I'm just saying that ESPN firing him has nothing to do with the First Amendment, despite what he says in his oddly capitalized email.

2 comments:

amy.leblanc said...

idiots who cry 'FIRST AMENDMENT' every time someone tells them to shut up and stop being a jackass/racist/asshole are a disgrace to America. + celebrities not understanding that "FREE SPEECH" isn't protected if someone is PAYING YOU TO SAY IT.

GG said...

OH GOD THIS IS ALSO MY PET PEEVE

ARGGGGGGHHHHHHHH