Friday, February 02, 2007

NFL's Heavy-Handed Attempt to Silence Churches is Out of Bounds

In Miami, FL the NFL’s heavy-handed attempt to prohibit churches from showing the Super Bowl to church members defies common sense. The NFL demanded that Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, cancel its advertised Super Bowl party. In addition to objecting to the church’s use of the words “Super Bowl” in promotions, the league objected to use of a screen larger than 55 inches and disliked the church’s plans to show a video highlighting the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.
The NFL freely admits it routinely makes exceptions for bars and other commercial establishments to show its games with big screen televisions and projection systems. Liberty Counsel characterized this unnecessary singling out of churches as heavy-handed and unfair. The NFL has publicly stated a preference for establishments that sell alcohol over churches hosting a wholesome, family-oriented gathering to watch the biggest football game of the year. With the popularity of big screen TVs and home entertainment, the NFL’s heavy-handed intimidation tactics cross the line into private homes. Will the NFL demand that viewing the Super Bowl at home with friends must be done on screens smaller than 55 inches? This is certainly not the intent of copyright laws, and such tactics by the NFL run afoul of common sense and the spirit of the game.
People throughout the world gather to watch the greatest athletic event of the year. Some view the game on small screens and some on large screens. When cars gather outside our private homes on Sunday afternoon, will the NFL knock on the door and ask to measure our TV screens? It appears that in the NFL’s way of thinking, TV screens bigger than 55 inches are fine for bars but not churches. This discriminatory and nonsensical act of the NFL makes the league look petty, and the NFL should apologize for this silliness.