Symbolic Speech

FILE PHOTO: San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, California, Oct 6, 2016.   Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Eric Reid Among Handful Of NFL Players Continuing Anthem Protests, Becomes the First Carolina Panther To Take A Knee

In his first game playing for the Carolina Panthers, Eric Reid resumed protest during the national anthem, becoming the first player on the team to take a knee. It came as no surprise: Reid protested alongside former teammate Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when playing for the San Francisco 49ers. But despite prompting a nationwide debate in earlier seasons, The Washington Post notes that only a handful of NFL players continue the practice while commentary and buzz around what once dominated the headlines has largely subsided.

October 8, 2018 Speech, Symbolic Speech
First Amendment Watch Teacher Guide: How are NFL Protests Related to Symbolic Speech and the First Amendment?

First Amendment Watch Teacher Guide: How are NFL Protests Related to Symbolic Speech and the First Amendment?

Symbolic speech as a form of protest, like taking a knee at a football game while others stand for the National Anthem, enjoys a long history in America. It’s been a powerful form of political expression going back to the protests in the colonies in the 1760s against British oppression.

The NFL protests—players taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem before NFL games—provides an extraordinary opportunity for teaching about the law and history of the First Amendment.

July 9, 2018 Symbolic Speech, Teacher Guides
Lata Nott Podcast (with FAW Founder Stephen Solomon): Symbolic Speech

Lata Nott Podcast (with FAW Founder Stephen Solomon): Symbolic Speech

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Lata Nott, originally published this podcast on the Newseum blog, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.           In this episode of The First Five, Lata Nott speaks with First Amendment expert and historian Stephen Solomon about symbolic speech, or nonverbal acts of expression, and to what extent they are[Read More…]

February 14, 2018 Symbolic Speech, Top Stories
A liberty tree with effigies.

From Liberty Tree to Taking a Knee: America’s Founding Era Sheds Light on the NFL Controversy

Symbolic speech as a form of protest, like taking a knee at a football game while others stand for the National Anthem, enjoys a long history in America. It’s been a powerful form of political expression going back to the protests in the colonies in the 1760s against British oppression. Various forms of symbolic expression—liberty trees, liberty poles, effigies of hated politicians, even the use of the number 45—brought multitudes into the political sphere and was critical in building opposition to British rule. Much of this symbolic expression was controversial and even offensive but a powerful form of protest then and now.

January 25, 2018 Assembly, Below the Fold, Speech, Symbolic Speech