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NFL Civics Lesson Courtesy of Vikings’ Josh Robinson

Time for a civics lesson courtesy of the NFL and embattled Minnesota Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson.

Robinson has been excoriated in the court of public opinion in recent days for his perceived anti-gay tweets in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex couples having the right to marry.

To many, the most objectionable of the 24-year-old’s thoughts was when he compared allowing two gay men to marry to allowing a man to wed his own 6-year-old child. The rebukes were swift and harsh forcing Robinson to delete the tweet and issue an apology.

“I apologize for any offense my tweets may have caused,” Robison wrote in a text message to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “In an attempt to express my beliefs, I created some confusion with my choice of words, and for that I apologize.

“I do not equate the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality with other social issues. There are obvious differences. However, I do believe that God’s laws will always supersede man’s laws. This belief is not from hate for anyone but from a love for my God and all those he created. Again, I’m sorry!”

Robinson is just the latest person in the public eye to learn a rather valuable lesson, you can still have an opinion in the Unites States of America … it’s just better be the right one.

And to those asking, no this is not about defending Robinson or what he said. On a personal level, I’m not terribly religious nor do I have any problem with gay people being allowed to marry. And what Robinson wrote was both foolish and ill-informed, particularly the part where he compared consenting adults to pedophilia and incest.

So why can’t we just leave it at that?

To those who don’t spend their time mired in the politics of the day, freedom of speech is something only wing nuts argue over when others don’t conform to their particular views.

In a practical sense it’s supposed to be one of our most important rights as citizens, protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is not, however, absolute as some may think with many categories of speech excluded from the so-called freedom.

You’ve probably heard “you cant yell fire in a crowded movie theater” (unless there actually is one of course) since you were a kid and that’s a sound example of something that is not protected by the amendment.

Robinson objected to SCOUTUS’ decision based on his own personal religious and perhaps bigoted convictions. His apology was a by-the-numbers-Mad-Libs approach that was neither heartfelt nor necessary.

If you want to make yourself feel better, chalk it up to the fact he’s in his mid-20s and probably not on his way to attending the next Algonquin Round Table to debate the most-tortured topics of the day.

Heck, you can even label the University of Central Florida product a bigot if you want but to me those taking aim at Robinson are the bigger problem, intent on indoctrination and snuffing out the rights of anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

It comes down to a rather simple premise: you either believe in free speech or you don’t and if you find forcing someone to conform to the view of the day an acceptable approach, well even Josh Robinson could figure out which one of those camps you belong in.

What Robinson tweeted certainly is protected speech, and his right to say it shouldn’t be taken away by an activist crowd trying to silence any dissenting viewpoints.

–You can reach JF McMullen at jmcmullen@phanaticmag.com or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also listen to John weekly on YAHOO! Sports Radio, ESPN Atlantic City, ESPN Lexington and ESPN Southwest Florida.

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