I, as much as anyone, am fully aware that freedom of speech and expression is not equal to freedom from consequences. That being said, I do have some questions about employers who look to discipline employees for refusing to stand for the national anthem.
One Tennessee man probably has more than a few questions himself after, he says, he lost his job because he sat down during the national anthem at a weekend event, of all things.
According to WTVC-TV, Tyler Chancellor, who was employed at 9Round, a kickboxing gym in Chattanooga, Tenn., said that he had been on the payroll for a little over a week when his employer told him not to come back.
Chancellor, who was training to become a coach at the gym, said that he was invited to sit with his co-workers in the VIP section of the Camp Jordan Arena on Saturday.
By Monday, he was out of a job.
“Me being a minority in this society, I chose to stand up for what I believe in—well, not actually stand up, but sit down for what I believe in,” Chancellor said.
Chancellor told the news station that Saturday’s event was the first time that he’d been at a location where the national anthem was played since the entire fiasco with the NFL and President Twitter Fingers blew up.
“I wasn’t the only one sitting down,” Chancellor said. “There were other minorities in the stands sitting down.”
Worst of all, none of these co-workers mentioned anything to him at the time. He didn’t realize anything was wrong until his boss met with him on Monday morning.
“She said, ‘Because you sat down, you were a part of a 9Round event, and you sat during the national anthem,’” Chancellor said. “‘We no longer want to continue business with you.’ There was no sugarcoating.”
The owner said that the company supports the military and first responders, and thus considered Chancellor’s choice disrespectful, even though, for the last time, these protests have nothing to do with the military, first responders or even the national anthem itself.
Despite being fired—Tennessee is an “at-will employment” state, meaning that employers can dismiss an employee for basically any reason (or no reason) at all—Chancellor does not regret his decision to sit.
Read more at Fox 17.