To left-stream media in Missouri, free speech extends to inflammatory actions by athletes, but not to Republican politicians who comment on those activities.
Missouri's Republican Governor Mike Parson on Wednesday tweeted his opposition to national anthem kneeling, and The Kansas City Star's editorial board, which endorsed Democrat Chris Koster in the state's last gubernatorial election, repudiated his right to free speech. The Star defended athletes waging social justice protests during the national anthem and characterized Colin Kaepernick's shameful activities in 2016 as delivering an "important" message.
On the governor's personal Twitter account, he wrote: “The worst part of where the extreme left is going is how they openly disrespect the American flag and kneel instead of stand during our National Anthem. I’ll always stand for our flag and for our country.”
Parson's campaign manager Steele Shippy said his boss believes Democrats are trying to tear apart the fabric of the foundation of America. “Free speech works both ways. We want folks to stand up for the American Dream.”
The Star editorial board jumped all over the Republican governor for his audacity: "Apropos of nothing, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson decided this week to not-so-boldly wade into the three-year-old controversy surrounding NFL players who kneel during the national anthem."
National attention on pregame protests and "players calling attention to inequality and police brutality were front and center during the 2016 and 2017 seasons," but the issue has faded since then, The Star editorial read.
That's true in the NFL, but protests rage on in soccer and with American athletes competing in international events and other venues. There's no end in sight for protests, but the short-sighted Star editors pressed on with their politically motivated attack:
"Either Parson didn’t get the memo, or the governor has just plain run out of ideas as he casts about for inspiration in his quest to castigate the 'extreme left.' He’s awfully late to this debate — perhaps the governor would like to weigh in on what’s wrong with 'New Coke' while he’s at it."
Not content with their attempt to damage Parson, The Star escalated the hit piece to include President Donald Trump:
"With all the urgent issues facing Missouri — 120,000 people have lost Medicaid coverage, gun violence has increased dramatically in the state, and the president’s trade wars have left local farmers reliant on government bailouts — Parson chose this moment to denounce kneeling?"
The Star editorial said Governor Parson's remarks were contradictory to last year when he correctly said at the Kansas City Chiefs training camp, “We all have individual freedoms in this country.”
"So why the change of heart, Governor? The fact that you have a campaign to run next year surely has nothing to do with this seemingly random flip-flop — right?" The Star piece continued.
Upon further review, it's The Star that deserves an unsportsmanlike penalty — for misleading its readers. The governor has not had a change of heart, for as Fox 4 TV of Kansas City reported in 2018:
"The exchange with reporters at training camp grew testy when Parson was asked in follow-up questions if he knew why the players continued to protest the anthem.
“'Yeah I know exactly why they’re doing it,” Parson said. “I told you I have my beliefs and whether I stand and whether you should stand or not for the national anthem. I done answered that question.'”
The Star asked how the exercise of free speech with a silent protest represented an attack on America: "The explanation offered by the governor’s campaign rings hollow, and deservedly, online criticism of Parson has been pointed and swift." Criticism by anonymous people on Twitter, that is.
One nameless Twitter user wrote that kneeling for the anthem "to protest police brutality & racism does not disrespect our flag or our country. What disrespects our country is an unelected Gov throwing tens of thousands of children off Medicaid...” “Parroting GOP talking points of distraction is not leadership,” wrote another anonymous person.
The anthem tweet is "unquestionably a politician ploy, suggesting that perhaps the governor is running a bit scared. Parson, who has an actual record to campaign on, certainly can do better than seeking to divide the state by lobbing political grenades solely for the purpose of scoring points with his base," The Star editorial added.