The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants American citizens the right to free speech. However, in the case of college athletes, this right is not without limitation. In exchange for the privilege of participating in college level athletics, college athletes voluntarily agree to terms that restrict their abilities to speak freely, specifically in the context of social media platforms. This article details situations in which college athletes have made offensive statements via social media for which they later needed to delete, explain, and apologize. These examples support the notion that restrictions on college athletes’ speech are not only constitutionally sound, but also necessary in light of the challenges universities and colleges may face if their athletes’ rights to free speech are not restricted.
Meg Penrose, Outspoken: Social Media and the Modern College Athlete, 12 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 509 (2013)