Leach’s 'No Twitter' rule may violate 1st amendment

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by OTHELLO RICHARDS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 25 at 6:41 PM

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State University’s Twitter ban on football players has some attorney's crying foul.
      
Tuesday night Head Coach Mike Leach told his players if they tweet, they will be suspended.

Several lawyers say WSU's Twitter ban violates the freedom of speech.  Coach Leach disagrees. “No there aren't any first amendment issues with that.  There's also not a first amendment issue as far as being on this football team either,” said Leach.

An attorney who's dealt with close to 13,000 legal calls at the Student Press Law Center in Virginia weighed in. Adam Goldstein said Leach is employed by the State of Washington, works for public institution, and therefore cannot restrict what students say in their free time.

Goldstein said he's heard argument from people justifying the coach's actions. “They are saying when you are on the team; you agree to give up certain things.  One thing you don't agree to give up is your 1st amendment right, because you can't because the team is run by the government…the government  doesn't have the ability to tell people what to do in their free time, particularly people who aren't employees,” said Goldstein.

Goldstein said if WSU was a private institution, then it could.
 

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