This week, Troy University released its chief of police after investigating some inflammatory remarks the chief made on his personal Facebook page about the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

He’s the second public employee from the area to find himself out of work after airing controversial opinions on social media. Dothan school officials declined to renew a contract for an untenured football coach at Dothan High School who likewise made controversial remarks online. A third public worker, the director of Dale County’s Emergency Management Agency, remains on administrative leave for similarly controversial online posts.

Like the comments that lead to them, the repercussions are regrettable, but not unexpected. Public workers serve the entire public, including people of every ethnicity, religion, social standing and political stripe, and public remarks that some in that constituency may find offensive can make them less effective in their duties.

It’s a cautionary tale for all: You’re free to speak as you like, but you should consider the consequences those words may invite.

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