Mike Fisher exercised his right to free speech the other day when he tweeted in support of a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling. It raises the question about whether we want our hockey stars wading into the political arena.
Is Plan B tantamount to abortion? Should business owners be forced to insure their employees for items that conflict with their values? What the H-E double hockey sticks is this discussion doing on thn.com? It became relevant in our realm the other day (though lost somewhat in the free agent feeding frenzy) when Nashville’s Mike Fisher tweeted about it.
Fisher was referring to Hobby Lobby’s win in the U.S. Supreme Court June 30 when the nine judges ruled, by a 5-4 vote, in favor of the arts and crafts retailer in their bid to deny insurance for certain types of contraception. A family controlled business, Hobby Lobby successfully argued it shouldn’t be forced to provide a service that runs contrary to their religious beliefs. Fisher, a devout Christian, has worn his faith proudly throughout his career, making no secrets about something that is paramount in his life. We respect that. But when his strongly held beliefs stray into politics and highly controversial court rulings, it raises the question of propriety. Do we want our hockey heroes wading into sociopolitical tidal waves? Be careful how you answer this. If you’re among the legion of fans that feels hockey players are too staid in interviews, too bland with the media, too conservative with their image, you have to expect some messes when you open a can of words. If you prefer color to black and white, be aware that color spectrum is wide. That doesn’t mean you need to agree with Fisher in this instance. You may think the Supreme Court ignored the scientific evidence or that employees’ rights are being compromised. It’s a passionate, complicated, divisive debate that will forever be contested. But you need to accept the double-edged sword that is candor. Mike Fisher exercised his right to free speech and didn’t cross any lines doing it. He’s not spreading hate, inciting violence or advocating criminal activity. He’s paid extremely well to perform, but as far as we know, there are no clauses in his contract denying him a voice. And if you don’t agree with that voice, you have the same right to use yours to let him know.