ESPN Writer Suspended From Twitter

from the careful-what-you-tweet dept

Earlier this year, we noted that ESPN had come out with rules on how its staff could (and could not) use Twitter. Apparently, Bill Simmons broke those rules, and has been suspended from Twitter for two weeks. His crime? Apparently calling radio station WEEI, a partner of ESPN, deceitful scumbags. That does seem a bit over the top, but why should ESPN have a say in how Simmons uses a totally unrelated service in which he speaks his mind? If he's going to say something dumb, isn't that his decision?


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  1.  
    identicon
    confused, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 5:00am

    Whose account is it ?
    Does ESPN own twitter ?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 5:01am

    No wonder you went blogging if you can't understand why companies should have a say about what employees publicly disclose or say that can affect them, even indirectly.

     

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  3.  
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    Jason Still (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 5:37am

    Re:

    No wonder you went blogging if you can't understand why companies should have a say about what employees publicly disclose or say that can affect them, even indirectly.
    If he had instead sent a letter to someone saying the same thing, would/should they have suspended him from using the postal service for two weeks? What if he was at a bar and and simply spoke it loud enough for all around him to hear, would they then suspend him from speaking for two weeks?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re:

    The postal service isn't a public annoncement system. It is about the same difference as thinking "fire" and yelling it in a crowded room.

     

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  5.  
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    Matthew, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Re:

    I don't think that companies and their reputations are nearly as important as things like free speech. I can certainly understand why they'd WANT a say in what their employees disclose. (I'm willing to make concessions for things like trade secrets, details of negotiations.) If the employee just wants to share an OPINION about the company, one of the company's clients, vendors, etc., then the company should have no leverage to punish the employee over that.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 5:45am

    Q: What's the difference between an employee who's off the clock and a non-employee?

    A: There isn't one.

    Seriously, it's ridiculous, but apparently more legal protections are going to be required to protect personal activities on personal time from being hijacked by suit-tyrants. On top of that, I clicked through to the original article on mediaite, and the policy (which I think is dumb anyway) seems to only apply to sports-related activities. I didn't see anything in there about radio stations. Seems like kind of wide latitude.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 5:49am

    Not really suspended

    He works for the company and went out publicly and insulted one of their partners. They have a right to deal with him any legal way.

    They said don't use twitter for 2 weeks. They could have just as easily fired him. Pepsi does it all the time when a driver is seen drinking Coke.

    long and short. He did something publicly that detracts from the brand. The brand slapped him for it.

    No big deal.

     

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  8.  
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    Santa, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:03am

    When a person has a public profile....

    ...that comes FROM the work he/she performs for a company, it is an obligation to respect that. They writer didn't - and the punishment is minor. But professionalism lies at the root of this - and he acted in an unprofessional manner. He's lucky he wasn't fired.

     

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  9.  
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    Pwdrskir (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:23am

    Professional Unions

    “If he's going to say something dumb, isn't that his decision?”

    Not if he is a member of a professional union. The AMA, PGA, NAR, RIAA, etc., are killers of free speech, distorters of truth and will destroy all of our rights to get their way.

    These Acro-Unions choose what their members can and cannot say, to hell with the 1st Amendment. Free speech is penalized and any comments they deem derogatory will be dealt with harshly.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:31am

    Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    "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 tired of this type of argument. Unions are not Congress. ESPN is not Congress. A corporation is not Congress. This has noting to do with the 1st amendment.

     

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  11.  
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    VitaminCM, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:41am

    I Think they're right on this one

    I am the first to pile on to companies who put out ridiculous edicts like this. However, I do think that a company has the right to tell employees who are public figures that they should not bash the company in a public forum.
    If you are too irresponsible to follow those rules, then you should have your toys taken away.

     

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  12.  
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    Dementia (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:45am

    Re: Not really suspended

    In point of fact, yes, very big deal. Have you not heard of freedom of speech? You want to know why they didn't fire him? Very simple, they had no justification, and they knew it. The fact that a company employs you doesn't mean they have the authority to tell you what you can and can't say, unless you do it in a way that makes it appear that you are speaking for the company.

     

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  13.  
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    Dementia (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    You are correct in that companies are not Congress, despite the fact that Congress seems to be controlled by corporations, despite that, a company has no greater rights to restrict your freedoms than any individual. Now, if he signed a contract in which he gave ESPN the right to tell him what he could or could not say, well, that's another story altogether.

     

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  14.  
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    Bob Smith, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:50am

    A bit different take

    I read Bill Simmons regularly on ESPN. He is an opinion columnist who is sometimes pretty funny. While he may "own" his twitter account, ESPN advertises the heck out of it on their website and it is really a vehicle to drive traffic to his ESPN site. I am sure he (Bill Simmons and all other ESPN columnist) has a contract that keeps him from slamming partners of ESPN.

    All in all this is really nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

     

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  15.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Not really suspended

    I'm not sure that "freedom of speech" really comes into it. ESPN is not the government.

    If you post "My boss is a douchebag!!" to Facebook and he finds it, attempting to wrap yourself in the constitution for protection is a non-starter.

     

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  16.  
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    Overcast (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    despite the fact that Congress seems to be controlled by corporations

    Probably more so 'international bankers' - but.. yeah :)

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    He did. RTFA.

    I make my living off of company X. I may not like everything company X does, but my livelihood depends upon getting people to spend their money with that company. If one of my employees were to make public statements calling company X "deceitful scumbags", whether verbally or through a Twit, I would fire them. I have that right.

     

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  18.  
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    John, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    Thank you, I was so hoping someone would say this.

     

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  19.  
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    Pwdrskir (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    I never said these Acro-Unions are in violation of the 1st Amendment, they just hate the concept of free speech so much so they will sue at the drop of a hat to prevent the truth from being spoken. They use heavy handed tactics that knock their members into line and fine, penalize, threaten and fire those that don’t play by their rules.

    This destroys the freedom to converse with liberty, which has nothing to do with the law.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:03am

    It's a non-story. Guy works for a company, says something terrible in public against an affiliate, and Mike acts all shocked because he got punished.

    Mike, the real world is very different from the whiteboard fantasy world. You should try it.

     

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  21.  
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    sassy, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:05am

    Anyone heard of contractual obligation

    employees of his stature sign contracts, he broke a general rule stipulated by his contract, therefore he should deal with the consequences. if he didn't want to be subject to the rules, then he should have never agreed to them. plain and simple.

    a guy of his level is never off the clock, always represents the company - so again, as long as he is under contract, one that he signed of free will, then he must abide by its rules.

    forget being a guy of his level - if any of you said anything disparaging about the company you work for, you too could feel the wrath.

    freedom of speech has nothing to do with this.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:10am

    Well, the "deceitful scumbags" post is still up. If they can revoke the privilege of using the account, I'd think they'd have at least tried to get him to remove the offending post first. It's kind of piss-poor ass coverage to put this policy in place that reaches through the work/life barrier so much and then not even remove the content that is supposedly such a threat to ESPN's relationship with its partner. I guess what I'm saying is they. could. have. gone. all. the. way...

     

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  23.  
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    Tyanna, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    As the poster above pointed out...if he had of yelled it in a crowded room, he should be banned from talking for two weeks?

    If they have a problem with his opinion, then they should address that. Banning him from using a third party communication tool b/c he used it to voice his opinion is just stupid.

     

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  24.  
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    Yakko Warner, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    Nice. ;)

    My guess is they were trying to avoid drawing too much attention to this. How much attention would the post's removal get, opposed to just leaving it up?

    They might've even politely asked for the tweet to be removed, been refused, and decided not to pursue it. Who knows?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:43am

    I would have thought that, on the other end of things, the partner broadcasters would have needed to sign an agreement to not be deceitful scumbags. Seems to me this whole thing could have been avoided if they'd taken that step in the first place. I mean, if we're going back and saying "should have done this/that before doing that/this" and all.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    "ESPN is not the government."

    When ESPN tries to regulate the freedom of speech of their employees outside of the scope of their employment (ie: on their free time) they are acting like the government. You're right, they're not the government and so they have no right to fire someone or to punish anyone for activities outside of the scope of their employment.

    It's like if I wanted to play basketball after work or something they have no say in such matters. It's none of their business. They're NOT the government, they can't regulate my life outside of their employment. Same thing, they have no say to regulate my free speech outside of their employment. Yes, we need laws to prevent this sort of attack against free speech.

    Free speech means you can freely express your speech without punishment. To punish free speech defeats the purpose of free speech (because then I can say, I have freedom of speech but then I must go to jail).

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    "I would fire them. I have that right."

    You should not fire them. If the free speech did not occur within the scope of their employment and if they didn't do anything illegal than you have no say to fire them. It's like firing them for playing basketball after work. You shouldn't be allowed to fire someone for legal activities outside of the scope of their employment. PERIOD.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    sp/You should not fire them./You should not be allowed to fire them.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Banning him from using a third party communication tool b/c he used it to voice his opinion is just stupid."

    and if it wasn't done on company time it SHOULD be illegal. and if it is illegal than that law should be enforced. They shouldn't be allowed to regulate peoples lives outside the scope of their employment.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re: Anyone heard of contractual obligation

    "freedom of speech has nothing to do with this."

    So the government can't regulate free speech but corporations can. That's just great.

    It has everything to do with free speech.

    "a guy of his level is never off the clock, always represents the company - so again, as long as he is under contract, one that he signed of free will, then he must abide by its rules."

    People should not be allowed to sign their free speech away.

    "he broke a general rule stipulated by his contract"

    not all contract clauses are enforceable and we should not enforce all contract clauses. Non compete clauses are not enforceable in many states and to the extent that they are they often have limitations.

    An individual has very limited bargaining power and this gives a huge corporation a disproportional influence over the terms of employment. However, this is no excuse to allow unfair and one sided contracts in favor of the corporation. This is why individuals can come together and authorize their government, an entity with a lot more bargaining power since they represent the collective will of the people and employees, to help them bargain for a better deal by enabling them to not enforce contract clauses that restrict free speech outside of the scope of employment. and I think such legislation should exist. Little good can come from such restrictions, if the company has nothing to hide and if they do nothing wrong then they have little reason to restrict such free speech.

    "a guy of his level is never off the clock"

    A: at what level should you be allowed to have your free speech revoked?

    B: I disagree. Contracts should not be allowed to control every aspect of someones life and they should not be allowed to restrict someone from giving their opinion to the world even if the corporation doesn't like the contract.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Anyone heard of contractual obligation

    and for a contract to be allowed to control every aspect of someones life sounds too much like slavery anyways.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    You say "Free speech means you can freely express your speech without punishment."

    Nope. Not even close. Free speech is not the freedom to say anything without consequence. From Wikipedia "Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak without censorship." Freedom of speech is freedom from censorship. You are free to say anything you want. You are not free from the consequences of your actions and words. You have the freedom to insult your boss. Doesn't mean he can't fire you for it.

     

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  33.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    When ESPN tries to regulate the freedom of speech of their employees outside of the scope of their employment (ie: on their free time) they are acting like the government.

    How so? Can they throw you in jail? They might be able to sue you, but even then they'd probably have to prove some breach of contract, meaning it's something you specifically agreed to as part of your employment. So no, not like the government at all.

    You're right, they're not the government and so they have no right to fire someone or to punish anyone for activities outside of the scope of their employment.

    If it impacts their business, why not? If I post a load of derogatory statements about my company on Facebook, how do they not have the right to terminate my employment?

    Free speech means you can freely express your speech without punishment.

    By the government. If you walk into your boss's office and start screaming obscenities at him, can he fire you? If I invite you over to my house and you start screaming obscenities at me, can I tell you to leave and never come back? Free speech does not mean free from all consequences.

     

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  34.  
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    mike allen (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:24am

    on his time

    he can do and say what he wants personally i would continue and tell the boss to stick his ban where the sun dont shine

     

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  35.  
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    Jose Burgos, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    ...and even if they were the government, they would still have no right to suppress the guy's freedom of speech.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    Lets say I get paid for every person I bring to Company X. One of my employees, in their own free time, while not actively working for me, organizes a protest against Company X and carries around a sign saying Company X are deceitful scumbags.

    Your argument is that I should not be able to fire this person. You are wrong. This person's actions are having a direct negative impact on my company. Why should I be required to continue to employ people who are directly negatively impacting my business?

    People are responsible for their own actions. If you work for me, and are spending your free time directly sabotaging my business, one of those needs to stop. I cannot control what you do outside of work. I can control whether you work for me.

     

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  37.  
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    Jose Burgos, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    "If I invite you over to my house and you start screaming obscenities at me, can I tell you to leave and never come back?"

    The problem with this analogy is if a house was a country, the homeowner would be the people and not the government. The government would just be a caretaker.

    So, if you (a member of the public) invite me over to your house (USA) and I start screaming obscenities at you, you'll have to ask your wife and kids (go through a democratic process) to kick me out. Otherwise, if you do not get the support of your wife and kids, the best thing that you can do is ignore me.

     

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  38.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    If the free speech did not occur within the scope of their employment and if they didn't do anything illegal than you have no say to fire them.

    According to you. Luckily for all of us, your opinion isn't reality.

    If I were the paid spokesperson for a non-profit organization dedicated to banning cigarettes, and my boss caught me lighting up on my porch one evening, I would be history. It doesn't matter that smoking is a legal activity or that I'm doing it on my own time at home. Likewise, if I posted to my blog about how great smoking was and how everyone should do it, I am likewise history. Doesn't matter that it was my own private blog or that I only posted on my own time.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    You talk about rights, yet you demand that a company continue to employ a person that acts against the best interests of the company at which he works. No right enumerated anywhere guarantees such a ridiculous idea, and I am glad for it.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    "Lets say I get paid for every person I bring to Company X. One of my employees, in their own free time, while not actively working for me, organizes a protest against Company X and carries around a sign saying Company X are deceitful scumbags."

    This is called a "strike", which, if done peacefully, is perfectly legal.

     

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  40.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    I think you misunderstand. The example was not an analogy for the countrygovernment; it was literal.

    I.e. If you invite me over to your house, and I start screaming obscenities at you, do you have the right to kick me out, or does "free speech" compel you to let me stay?

    The anonymous poster above seems to believe that all speech should be a free of all consequences from any source. Therefore, according to his logic, my screaming obscenities at you should not warrant the consequence of being removed from your private property.

     

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  41.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Anyone heard of contractual obligation

    So the government can't regulate free speech but corporations can. That's just great.

    I have a hard time seeing how ESPN can "regulate" my free speech, seeing as I don't work for them, nor have I signed any contract with them. The government, however . . .

    at what level should you be allowed to have your free speech revoked?

    Never. The government should never be able to revoke your free speech. If you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with a private entity, though, that's not a revocation of your free speech rights.

     

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  42.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Re: on his time

    he can do and say what he wants personally i would continue and tell the boss to stick the job where the sun dont shine

    Fixed that for ya, because that's what it would be. And that's fine, really, as long as he doesn't whine later about the fact that he got fired.

    "OMG I told my boss to stuff his rules up his ass and then he just fired me!! WTF! Free speech and shit, man!"

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:24am

    You might argue about whether or not it is good company policy to ban him in such a situation, but there is no argument that it is inherently wrong.

    Nobody has to work for espn if they feel violated by the disciplinary actions or restrictions they place on their employees.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:25am

    You might argue about whether or not it is good company policy to ban him in such a situation, but there is no argument that it is inherently wrong.

    Nobody has to work for espn if they feel violated by the disciplinary actions or restrictions they place on their employees.

     

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  45.  
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    hegemon13, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    No one said it is not legal. But, it is also perfectly legal for the company to fire those involved in the strike.

     

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  46.  
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    hegemon13, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:44am

    No

    "That does seem a bit over the top, but why should ESPN have a say in how Simmons uses a totally unrelated service in which he speaks his mind? If he's going to say something dumb, isn't that his decision?"

    No, it's not his decision when it reflects on ESPN. And, in the end, ESPN does NOT have a say in how Simmons speaks his mind. They have no control over Twitter or Simmons' speech. He can go right on bashing affiliates if he wants to, and they have no legal recourse against him (unless it becomes slander/libel). What they CAN do, however, is discontinue his employment by ESPN. So, it's up to Simmons which is worth more -- his job as an ESPN reporter, or his right to bash his employer. There is no story here. He got off lucky.

     

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  47.  
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    Santa, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Wrapping yourself in the flag: get serious

    You Americans wrap yourself in your Constitution in a vain attempt to do anything you want. The fact is that - Anonymous Coward's (many) protestations to the contrary - that what he did likely contravened his employment agreement with ESPN. He has the right to say whatever he wants, to be sure. He also has the RESPONSIBILITY to do so within the terms of both his contract AND his stature as a professional - and a public one at that.

    The Constitution has zippo to do with it.

    Intelligence and professionalism would suggest that it is stupid to bash one's employer. When ESPN refuses to renew his employment contract what's he going to say: "Waaaah --- I have the right to have my contract renewed even though I bash you publicly in a forum you don't control."?

    Get real people.....sheeesh.

     

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  48.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Re: No

    Perfect reply. I applaud you, sir.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    I think the word you are looking for is protest, not strike.

     

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  50.  
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    Chargone (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Content aside, i must commend the use of 'same difference' in a non-oxymoronic manner.

    That's impressive.

    Of course, you then forgot a 'between' after the 'as', but one can't have everything.

    [Surprisingly, there is absolutely no sarcasm in this comment]

     

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  51.  
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    Chargone (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, arguably when the individual in question is acting in his capacity as... whatever he's employed as, one could make the case for it. In his free time? not so much.

     

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  52.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They aren't regulating his life. He's free to continue using Twitter, he may just not have a job after doing so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Monk12, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 4:16pm

    It seems a bit over the top that he's 'suspended' from twitter, but you can see why. The number of people who saw that post was enough to have to take some action. Not a smart move on Bill Simmons' part.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    "You are free to say anything you want. You are not free from the consequences of your actions and words."

    So if I have free speech but I will be executed for it then I have free speech right?

    No, punishment defeats the purpose of free speech.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:59pm

    Re:

    "The number of people who saw that post was enough to have to take some action."

    because the reputation of a huge corporation is more important than our freedom to criticize it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    "Luckily for all of us, your opinion isn't reality."

    because only the opinion of rich and powerful corporations count.

    The government does enough to protect rich and powerful corporations at public expense (ie: they get patents, copyrights, and monopolies on infrastructure). They can act in the best interest of the people for a change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not really suspended

    So if I have free speech but I will be executed for it then I have free speech right?

    Free speech means free from government punishments. ESPN (as a private entity) is free to impose any legal punishment in its belt, up to and including termination of employment. And no, executions by private parties aren't considered legal.

    The silly part is, no one who thinks this is a free speech issue would ever apply the same criteria to their own private lives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Professional Unions & the 1st amendment

    "because only the opinion of rich and powerful corporations count."

    Sometimes, but in this case it's (A) common sense and (B) a fundamental understanding of the purpose of the constitution.

    (A) Exercising your right to free speech can have consequences. Most people understand this. Do I have the right to call my wife a bitch? Yes. Can she refuse to speak to me, divorce me, or otherwise just make my marriage miserable? Yes. Shocking to hear that speech can have consequences, I know. "But wait, you say, work is different from your private life!" To which I reply, "Is it? If I call my wife a bitch while I'm on the clock, can she not get angry at me? Likewise, if I call my boss a prick when I'm not on the clock, can he not fire my ass?"

    (B) Free speech protects you from the punishment from the government. Nothing more. Much like having freedom of the press does not guarantee that any newspaper will print any story you submit to them, free speech does not guarantee that other people will not take offense or otherwise censure you because of what you said.

    If the government stops by your house to round you up for something you said, I'll be in the crowd of protesters supporting you 100% of the way. But if you whine about getting fired because you called your boss a prick to his face, you can expect me to be unmoved by your cries of "But it's free speeeech!".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    His freedom to criticize ESPN hasn't been removed. He can criticize it 24/7/365 (even on Twitter, if he wants).

    He won't have a job anymore, but he can do it.

    If I interview you as a potential babysitter, and you tell me that you find children sexy, I'm not going to hire you. That doesn't mean you lack free speech. It means your free speech can have consequences for your relationships, both private and professional.

    It's called "freedom".

    You have the freedom to say what you want, and I have the freedom to associate with you, or not, at my discretion. Bill Simmons has the freedom to say what he wants about ESPN and its partners, and ESPN in turn has the freedom to associate with him, or not, at their discretion.

    To advocate anything else is to say that some can have freedom, but others cannot. I'd rather keep the door firmly shut on that kind of policy, thank you very much.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 7:51am

    Re: Wrapping yourself in the flag: get serious

    "You Americans..."

    Read my preceding post. I am American. You are a ridiculous bigot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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