The right to free speech is a cornerstone of our country and should, perhaps, be even more sacred when one is expressing opinions that are unpopular. But in the age of instant access to the digital public square, it is all too easy to distribute one's raw thoughts without the filter of timely reason and reflection to aid you.
We've all seen such instances which involving people of some celebrity sharing their questionable thoughts on relatively mundane and inconsequential subjects, only to have an apology or halfhearted excuse quickly follow when they overstep some line. Normally such gaffs illicit responses that are a combination of amusement, annoyance, and/or indifference.
But when athletes venture into politically and socially sensitive subjects, the consequences can be much harsher than they imagined. You have the right to speak you mind, but others also have to right to loudly agree or disagree with you.
And when your livelihood depends a great deal on your marketability to a significant section of the population, it would be wise to either keep your provocative comments to your self or invest greater effort is explaining them in a more nuanced and sensitive manner.
Sadly if past precedent is to be any indication, this won't be the case.