A quick note on what "free speech" means, for MMA fans.

I noticed a lot of whining and complaining in the Mitrione thread regarding his free speech being stifled or MMA Fighting blocking free speech by closing comments, blah, blah, blah. So, here is a quick primer on what the freedom of speech actually means.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, what the above quoted text means is that the government cannot make laws or persecute you for saying what you think. There are exceptions such as inciting riots or criminal behavior, but exceptions are few and far between and [most] have been reviewed by the higher courts, with rulings that err on the side of public health and safety.

So how does this apply to Matt Mitrione? Well, it doesn't. Meathead spoke his mind. A private entity suspended him for what he said, justifying it with what appears to be an ethics clause which is pretty standard fare in an employment contract. At no point in this issue has the government stepped in and said he couldn't say or do anything; no 1st Amendment rights were violated.

You see, too many people misinterpret the 1st Amendment. The common misconception is that:

I can say what I want and I don't have to face consequences because FREE SPEECH!"

That's not how it works. You have the right to say what you want. I have the right to think you're an asshole for saying it. I have the right to call you an asshole, bigot, something-phobic, etc. based on your words. If I own a business and you are in my establishment, I have the right to tell you to leave based on your words. If you are on my private property, I have the right to tell you to leave. And, if I own a business, and you are my employee, and you make public statements that would reflect poorly on my organization as you are publcily identified as an employee of mine, then I have the right to suspend or fire your ass.

And at no point in time is anyone's 1st Amendment rights violated.

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