Canceled at the University of Tennessee
They’re coming for you next: An offensive line coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC), Chris Malone, was fired just two days after he posted a tweet strongly criticizing failed Democrat candidate for governor Stacy Abrams and her part in what the coach perceived as election fraud in Georgia.
He is now suing the school and the individuals involved in his firing.
Congratulations to the state GA and Fat Albert @staceyabrams because you have truly shown America the true works of cheating in an election, again!!! Enjoy the buffet Big Girl!! You earned it!!! Hope the money is good, still not governor!
The school’s immediate reaction:
“Last night, a totally inappropriate social media post by a member of our football staff was brought to my attention. The entire post was appalling. The sentiments in that post do not represent the values of our football program, our Athletics department or our University,” AD Mark Wharton said at the time. “With that said, effective immediately, that individual is no longer a part of the program.”
Though Malone’s language was crude (though completely typical of almost all of Twitter’s childish commentary), it hardly rose to the level of “appalling” as claimed by the school, unless of course the school and the administrators of its athletic department are partisan Democrats and are intolerant to any opinions that criticize the political party they support.
As Malone’s lawyer correctly noted,
“UTC is going to get acquainted with the First Amendment,” Doug Churdar, Malone’s attorney, said in a statement announcing the suit. “As a public school, it cannot control what its employees say at social gatherings or on social media. It certainly cannot fire them for criticizing and mocking politicians.”
I wish I was as certain at this lawyer. On its face Malone should easily win this case. What he says on his own time should not cost him his job, especially when he is merely criticizing the actions of a politician.
We however no longer live in a society that values free speech. I will not be surprised if the courts, in cooperation with juries, rule in favor of the university.
Had Malone made these statements from a school account, as an official member of the school, his firing could then be justified. Your private opinions are your own, and should not cost you your job. As your own opinions, however, you have no right to force your employer to participate in them, essentially endorsing them. If you do, you should be fired. Sports figures in the NFL and NBA should note this distinction.
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