Letter: State Rep. Smith deserves praise for submitting bill

From: Ray Gibson


State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, deserves thanks for his effort to inject equity into the issue of pro football players kneeling during the national anthem. Since the NFL claims all the rights to the presentation of a football game, I thought maybe the league would have something to say about it, but it bailed immediately, calling it a free-speech issue.

As far as getting a refund from the team, perhaps a complaint could be made for the wretched, inferior play of the offensive line, or the inability of the defense to prevent the opponents from scoring. Other complaints might be made concerning the taste and high prices of hot dogs, jerseys and caps. These complaints have to be characterized as symbolic considering the impossibility of extracting even $1 from the grasp of a legislator or from an NFL team owner with a semi-trailer of dollars.

And can we be done with quarterback Colin Kaepernick? He came into the league with high promise and after a very brief time suffered an injury. He never recovered his initial ability and now does not have a starting job. The first mumble he made about kneeling was police brutality somewhere. The second mumble was that he might stop kneeling if somebody would “give him a job.” He possesses no moral authority to speak on this question; he has no persuasive oratory, no reasoning to present his position and no personal experience to validate his complaint about police brutality.

Also, the poor guy from Indiana who wants a refund has to get past Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, who is pounding his walking stick on his desk and shouting that football fans who are wanting refunds are engaging in “tortuous interference with business enterprise.” Believe it or not, that phrase is in the statute book and you can be sued for it.

I had a city councilman say the same thing to me once when I complained about the development a landlord wanted to place in an already blighted area of Columbus. Nobody sued me but the implication was there.

Smith should be congratulated for submitting his bill, knowing it would never survive the committee, but for having the integrity to try.