So, what to make the Washington, DC, lobbyist interested in introducing legislation that would ban openly gay athletes from playing in the National Football League?
Last week lobbyist Jack Burkman released a draft text of what he has named “The American Decency Act of 2014,” which would not only ban openly gay athletes from playing earning a living in the NFL but would levy multi-million dollar fees on teams that dared to violate the act, were it to be enacted.
Initially, one might simply shrug off the announcement as the ranting of a publicity-seeking jackass.
Yes, it’s hard to believe someone who earns a living from political lobbying would stoop to such a low maneuver, but things like this have been known to happen.
Magnanimously, the bill would exempt teams that build separate locker facilities so that gay and straight players may shower apart. Ah, good. I was so hoping we would find some way to reintroduce Separate but Equal; it was such a hit the first time around.
“I truly believe NFL team owners and coaches do not want openly gay players on their teams because of the issues that will cause and I think they may tell you that if they answered honestly,” Burkman said in a press release. “The morals in this country have dropped so low that it’s sad that a bill like this is even needed.”
Fortunately, because Burkman is a lobbyist he cannot introduce legislation, which must be done by a member of Congress. He claims his proposal has the support of several members of Congress, however.
Instead of wasting our time with this kind of claptrap it would be nice to see someone somewhere introduce a bill that says, oh, I don’t know, that citizens of the United States are free to associate with whomever they wish, whenever they wish.
You know, sort of like what’s covered in the concept of “freedom of association,” which has generally been held to be part and parcel of the First Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” according to said amendment.
For a self-proclaimed advocate of “decency,” it seems a little odd that Burkman’s goal is to overturn part of our Bill of Rights.
Donald Boudreaux, a George Mason University Economics professor who writes at Café Hayek, details an interesting counter to Burkman’s harebrained scheme. He proposes “The Mind Your Own Business Act of 2014,” and addresses its merits toward Burkman.
If passed, private citizens – including, of course, N.F.L. owners, coaches, and players – would be authorized to ignore you and other busybodies. Under my Act, private adults would be free to hire, fire, marry, live with, play with, play against, and generally to associate with whomever they choose on whatever terms they find mutually agreeable without having to worry that their voluntary interactions will be disrupted by the indecent pestering and obstructiveness of presumptuous intermeddlers such as yourself.
Boudreaux is only half-joking, unfortunately. With lunkheads such as Burkman roaming the political landscape, one never knows what foolishness is going to be foisted upon the populace next.