A black Tennessee man claims that he was terminated from his job after he was spotted sitting during the national anthem.
According to Raw Story, Tyler Chancellor was an employee at the 9Round kickboxing gym located in Chattanooga. However, he was fired this week for exercising his First Amendment right to sit down as the national anthem played during an event held at Camp Jordan arena.
Chancellor, like many other people of color and professional athletes, has joined the demonstration initiated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in protest against police brutality.
“Me being a minority in this society, I chose to stand up for what I believe in — well not actually stand up, but sit down for what I believe in,” Chancellor told Fox 17.
Unfortunately, when Chancellor returned to work on Monday, he learned that he had lost his job for choosing to sit during the anthem at a work-related function.
“She said because you sat down, you were a part of a 9Round event, and you sat during the national anthem,” Chancellor said of his boss. “We no longer want to continue business with you. There was no sugar coating.”
Many opponents of the protest argue that kneeling or sitting for the national anthem is disrespectful to the military; however, Chancellor actually comes from a military family, Raw Story reports.
Chancellor is unable to do much in terms of legal action as Tennessee's laws are written so that employers can operate their businesses however they please.
"Employers are entitled to fire people what's known as 'at will,'" said Harvard Law School professor Mark Tushnet. "That is for any reason they have, or for no reason at all."
While the company may have, legally, reserved the right to terminate Chancellor, it doesn’t make their decision OK from a moral standpoint.
The nation prides itself on honoring the United States Constitution, and yet, people like Kaepernick and Chancellor are being punished for doing just that. The right to peacefully protest is bestowed upon them by this so-called sacred document, but their livelihoods were jeopardized for exercising said right.
Chancellor’s unfortunate fate is a reflection of the domino effect that President Donald Trump’s words and attitude toward the national anthem protests have sparked. Trump has bashed, and continues to bash, professional athletes who take a knee during The Star-Spangled Banner, going as far as to deem them a “son of a b***h” and call for them to be fired.
This blatant disrespect of the Constitution coupled with the mindset that his power gives him the automatic green light to say and do anything he wants — no matter how crude — has seemingly trickled down to other people in positions of power, such as Chancellor’s 9Round boss.
Trump has set the example that it’s acceptable for anyone with authority to silence others and infringe on their rights by firing them and punishing them despite the fact that they’ve done nothing wrong.
Needless to say, this is incredibly dangerous as it sets the tone for other employers and authority figures to follow suit, throwing ethics to the wind and allowing personal politics to be the driving force behind their decisions.
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