Friday Headlines: The First Amendment, Jay Briscoe and You!
Greetings Humanoids. I’m Lonestaruffigus, presenting a special report on the first amendment, wrestling, twitter, and you.
As you may or may not know, Jay Briscoe, current ROH World Heavyweight Champion and dude whose funny video I included on this week’s Tuesday Headlines, recently came under criticism for comments made over Delaware’s recent decision to allow marriage between homosexual individuals in their state. Here are his exact remarks from Twitter, which have since been deleted:
“The Delaware Senate passed a bill yesterday that allows same sex couples to get married. If that makes you happy then congratulations!!!!!!!!!!”
“…try and teach my kids that there’s nothing wrong with that and I’ll fucking shoot you.”
Jay, who is famously a resident of Delaware, obviously has an opinion on the gay marriage debate, as many of us do. Spoiler alert, it’s not an opinion I share. Some wrestling fans have been disappointed or angry with Briscoe’s anti-gay tweets, others have defended him and his first amendment right to freedom of speech. As those terms “first amendment” and “freedom of speech” have been tossed around a bit on message boards and social media since Jay took to twitter, I’d like to talk a bit about what that means here.
Yes, this means politics. And I’m sorry. I guess.
The first amendment of the US constitution protects (but does not guarantee) freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceable assembly and freedom to petition the government. Consequentially it also protects against the establishment of a national religion or a preference of one religion over another, the presence of “In God We Trust” on our money notwithstanding. However, the first amendment (and pretty much every amendment giving us certain freedoms) is a) open to interpretation by the government and therefore the citizens that vote in government officials and vote on certain laws directly and b) not totally fundamental. You can’t actually say whatever you want and be protected from consequence. For example, you can’t tell everyone you know that your brother is a convicted murderer when he’s not. He’ll sue your ass and win. You also can’t incite or encourage “imminent lawless action.” What the hell does that mean? Well, it’s complicated, as all our laws are. Bottom line, there’s no such thing as total freedom or anything.
So what does that mean for Jay and this situation exactly? The simplest interpretation of the constitution means that Briscoe is perfectly within his rights to say what he feels like, even if it might piss you or me off. However, and this is where the world gets tricky, children, we are well within our own personal rights to totally not be happy with his comments and let him know, by means of tweets, emails, physical protests or simply not monetarily or otherwise supporting the company he represents. Is this unfair that someone is the public eye can be socially punished for his own personal viewpoints and/or prejudice? (You can call it either, it won’t hurt my feelings) Yes, but it’s also part of being a responsible adult with a job and obligations to answer to. In my line of work, which, holy cow, is so much less in the public eye than professional wrestling, I still have to choose my words with caution, because words have meaning, sometimes even different meanings than what you thought you applied to them. And the people that sign my checks and indirectly put food on my table like their customers to be happy with their product.
Jay Briscoe is currently the top wrestler in ROH, and in professional wrestling, wrestlers and the matches and storylines they participant in are the product. Jay Briscoe might not think words or phrases like “fag” (he used it last year) or “I’ll fucking shoot you” are his responsibility not to say as the champion, but that’s just the way this world of business works, for better or for worse. Coincidentally, Ring of Honor the company wants very much for you to continue to support them and released the following message, again through twitter:
“Ring of Honor Wrestling respects and appreciates every fan regardless of age, gender, race, religion or sexual preference. The recent post by Jay Briscoe does not represent the views or opinions of Ring of Honor Wrestling, its owners, management or employees.”
That’s a pretty cut and dry statement and it’s probably also true, except for that very last word. It did appear to be the view of their champion, definitely an employee, or he wouldn’t have said it at all. Ring of Honor later made an additional statement, on behalf of the company in general and Jay Briscoe in particular:
“Jay Briscoe would like to again express his sincerest apologies and regrets to all, especially his young fans, for his recent hateful twitter comment. Ring of Honor has insisted that Jay also make a public apology at the Ring of Honor event this Saturday night. Jay will address the public during the event. In addition to this apology, Ring of Honor and Jay have agreed that he will donate his full pay from the next two Ring of Honor events to the Partners Against Hate charitable organization. Partners Against Hate was created to help prevent, deter, and reduce juvenile hate-related behavior. For more information on PAH, visit http://www.partnersagainsthate.org/.”
And that’s where we’re at. Say something hateful and offensive (but with reason, hate always comes with a reason) and be punished for it by the world around you.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Since I’m still up on my high horse, I may as well respond to a facebook comment about Dolph Ziggler’s recent concussion and how he should stop bumping so hard in order to prevent them from happening. I do recall Dolph getting a concussion at least once before and I’m pretty sure it looked like this:
I’m not sure if I should drop the mic after that one, but I’m at least going to set it gently on the ground.
Rumors continue to abound about independent talent soon to be signed by the WWE, specifically names like Mike Bennett, Sami Callihan (again and forever), someone named Shaun Ricker and Samurai del Sol. Rajah.com Do yourself a favor and look up a youtube video of Samurai del Sol. It’s like tasting grape for the first time.
Canadian favorite and favorite of Canadians, Christian seems set to return and is waiting for a storyline to do just that. Lords of Pain My storyline suggestions? Unicorns. No plot, no story, just unicorns.
And that’s all the news you can use. Enjoy your weekend people!