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NCAA 1, Free Speech 0

Posted Thursday, April 15, 2010, at 2:03 PM

Looks like the NCAA is making what it probably considers a politically correct move.

The group's Playing Rules Oversight Panel is banning symbols or messages within eye black worn by college football players.

I guess too many people objected to Tim Tebow's promotion of Christianity, which hurt nothing whatsoever and, if you share his views, may have helped quite a few.

We're talking about adults playing a game, not individuals involved in serious white-collar business where a businesslike appearance can be properly ordered or a military force where conformity is necessary.

There's nothing wrong with messages in eye black. There's something very wrong when a non-government agency is allowed to pass a binding rule that affects thousands of people.

Freedom of speech is precious. Never stifle it.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]


It does seem uncanny that if it is something to do with the Christian faith, somebody finds it offensive. Makesme shiver to see whats next? Though no matter what laws or penalties that are handed down, I WILL NEVER CEASE TO PRAY TO HIM, WORSHIP HIM OR PRAISE HIM!

-- Posted by michaelbell on Thu, Apr 15, 2010, at 7:23 PM

It's a shame that you put so much stock in the first amendment, yet apparently have no problem with the others being ignored.

If it makes you feel better most colleges receive some public money, so they are a quasi-government agency...at least that is what the liberals say about other businesses who received bailout money. ;-)

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Apr 15, 2010, at 7:58 PM

Most colleges are also tax exempt "charities".

Does it really surprise anyone that the NCAA passed this new rule considering that most major universities are rife with flaming liberals?

I would be willing to bet (just a figure of speech, officer) that if a Muslim player put something on their eye-black nobody would say a word.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Apr 15, 2010, at 8:35 PM

i have to tell you david (and others) i find this to be the strangest topic ever. and the responses even stranger. you guys have gotten so paranoid that you arent thinking straight. we are talking about college athletics, not the theatre department. as soon as the eye black thing started, they knew it would have to be banned... and sooner rather than later. not because of tebo's message. tebo's message was not a problem. and it wasnt because they wanted to take away the first amendment from christians. it was because of what the first amendment would require others to be allowed to say. if tebo was allowed his message, then there would be very few limitations they could put on the messages athletes put in their eye black. the truth is the exact opposite of "if a Muslim player put something on their eye-black nobody would say a word". this rule was to prevent the absolute certainty that muslim players would put something in their eye black. it is YOUR sensitivities that are being protected here.

-- Posted by lazarus on Thu, Apr 15, 2010, at 11:07 PM

Some people need to brush up on how the constitution works.

The first amendment (and all the others) only prevents the government from infringing on certain rights.

If David has such a problem when a "non-government agency is allowed to pass a binding rule that affects thousands of people", does he have an equal problem with a chain store banning concealed carry of firearms?

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Apr 16, 2010, at 3:59 AM

The reason they are doing this is simply to prevent some player from putting something offensive or something approaching advertising on their eye black. It has nothing to do with religion. So many people think that anytime something like this is enacted it's to persecute Christians. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is just a way of saying either everyone can do what they want or no one can do anything. The NCAA chose to say that messages on eye black are prohibited to prevent some player down the road using it to promote something offensive or to promote something that might approach advertising. Again, it has nothing to do with prohibiting religious expression specifically.

-- Posted by volfanatic on Sat, Apr 17, 2010, at 11:06 PM

It is just a move to take away another of your rights by the Gov.


If you don't know what your Rights are, you don't have any rights!

Too many people think they are fighting For their Rights when to take rights away from others. They aren't smart enough to realize they are helping to remove their very own Rights as well.

One day the NCAA won't have any rights (either) to stand up and speak out, because they took the "Free Speech" right away from themselves also.

Today it is an eye black, tomorrow a tee shirt, day after tomorrow a Tattoo! What next, a car tag, business card, letterhead or business logo?

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Sun, Apr 18, 2010, at 1:53 PM

Well, well, well! I just saw on Channel 2 News tonight that Car Tags reading "JESUS IS LORD" may be a violation of separation of church and state by a judge in Tennessee.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Mon, Apr 19, 2010, at 10:51 PM

I guess Christians in Bedford County don't have a problem with having Praise Allah on eye black or a Tennessee car tag, how about Krishna. I don't understand the reason why some who profess to be of the Christian faith have an issue with being told no! But have no qualms about telling others of different faiths no. People want Jesus on their cars, then put a sticker or a fish on the back. But to have the tax payer dollars of a Muslim or Buddhist supplement you car tag, is infringing on their rights. And, it cost the state approximately $100,000 to design and implement new plates, which would not be recuperated by the sale of the individual plates. Because I am sure that most of the people that attend my church, which is a Christian church, would have a cow if they were riding down the highway and saw a Menorah on a car tag, even if they had a Jesus plate on their car at the time. Have your faith, wear it on your sleeve, but don't ask people of other faiths to give tax dollars to display your beliefs.

It's the same with the eye black, Christians would have a cow, not to beat a phrase to death, if a player put in his eye black "Jesus is dead." Does that player not also have his first amendment rights to free speach as well? All we have to do is look back to the NFL in 1986 when Jim McMahon was quarter back for the Chicago Bears. The NFL forbade Mr. McMahon from wearing head bands with the Nike swish while he was on the sideline. Only because at the time the NFL did not have a contract with Nike, and was making no money from this promotion, so this is nothing new. So I wonder if the ruling by the NCAA is a speech issue or a money issue. I would bet you will still see the Nike swish in the eye black.

-- Posted by docudrama on Tue, Apr 20, 2010, at 3:52 PM

The only thing I am against is the Government telling me I have no Freedom of Speech which the US and State Constitutions say I do have.

The law says the State can not favor one religion over another nor make ANY LAWS Respecting the establishment of a Religion.

If they print tags for one religion they have to do it for any other religion. I don't have any problem with that. If they let the schools teach one religion they must let any other religion be taught also.

Article I, Section 1 of the Tennessee State Constitution states:

1. Powers of people

That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of those ends they have at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

I say we let the State legislators know what we want or we will vote for someone else this next election and they can stay home with their families who love them.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Tue, Apr 20, 2010, at 8:25 PM

Actually the constitution says CONGRESS Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

It is a fairly recent interpretation that this applies to states and cities. At the time the constitution was written and for years afterward several states had specific religions that were practiced.

In fact, church services were regularly held in the Capitol building, from the time it was built til after the civil war and reconstruction, even though there was no shortages of church buildings in D.C.

As an interesting point, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Danbury letter, which contains the oft quoted line "separation of church and state", attended church services in the Capitol building just two days after he wrote the letter.

Does anyone think the true meaning of the letter has been perverted?

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Apr 22, 2010, at 6:25 AM


I do!

It doesn't matter what the law says, IF we the People will acknowledge what is being done. We have the power to abolish any law by Jury Nullification.

When did the Federal or State Government get any sovereignty over we the people. Not only do we have a freedom of speech right but other rights not numbered in the Bill of Rights.

Tennessee State Constitution

Article I, 3. Freedom of worship

That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.

Read it again: ...that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Thu, Apr 22, 2010, at 7:38 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.