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Professional Athletes Have 1st Amendment Shutdown Rights?

Updated: Apr 27, 2016 6:21 AM

It doesn’t matter which sport it is; the media builds up players and teams year after year. They do this only to tear them back down and it turns into a vicious cycle. If you live in the biggest media market in the country, the pressure is magnified a hundred times.

New York Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle was rightfully frustrated after his team was knocked out of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins last weekend. He held an end-of-the-season press conference in his locker Tuesday. Then, he displayed his extreme displeasure with a New York Post reporter, demanding he leave the conference.

Boyle unloads on (Larry) Brooks — and fellow Post reporter Brett Cyrgalis, who wasn’t actually in attendance — and accuses the veteran writer of “burying” players, while unleashing a string of profanities. (NBC Sports)

For context, if you want a couple examples of why Boyle is upset with Brooks, read this and/or this.

Let’s all take a few breaths and calm ourselves for a moment. Does that feel better? Okay, Boyle is visibly upset with a reporter. His goal of winning a championship is over and that takes a toll on an athlete. However, he’s trying to single out a single person in the biggest media market in the United States?

I’m not siding with Brooks, Cyrgalis, or anyone else in the media. One must understand that you will face overwhelming amounts of scrutiny from the New York media from day one. Does this mean that the media should do so? Not necessarily, but you can’t walk on eggshells for professional athletes. Neither party here has more authority over the other in any way, shape or form.

I do have a problem with professional athletes getting all hot and bothered over scathing remarks that media members make. The media does not have to conform to anyone or anything when writing columns or op-ed pieces. These people are paid to get clicks and eyes on their product. Boyle should know this, first and foremost.

I get that he’s upset. He has every right to be upset. However, he does not have the right to demand the media or any particular media member be removed from the conference. There is an exception if, for example, Brooks was in a physical altercation with Boyle and it got real (as we millennials like to say).

The First Amendment we have in this country is constantly misrepresented and misconstrued by many and too often. Writers, talk show hosts, news teams, etc., have every right to praise and criticize athletes, politicians, and many other kinds of people. That’s their job, to an extent. We care way too much about what others say about us when, according to the old adage, we should just turn the other cheek.

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