NFL Takes Hardline Stance Against Christian Players Attending Church
The NFL is forbidding its players from attending church services with more than 25% capacity but it encourages they attend protests.
The NFL is taking a hardline approach with players who wish to attend church. The league is prohibiting football players from attending indoor church services with more than 25 percent capacity in attendance. The new policy was set in a historic agreement reached between the NFL and the NFL Players Association for 2020 and beyond.
But here’s the rub. While the NFL put limits on church attendance, they do not restrict (or even discourage) player attendance at massive protests.
NFL And Black Lives Matter
While it is against NFL rules to attend church services with even 26% attendance, the league isn’t discouraging participation in protests amid crowds significantly larger than any church congregation.
In fact, the league’s social media accounts have been sharing pictures of professional football players attending large Black Lives Matter protests.
So the NFL is by all accounts encouraging its players to protest.
— NFL (@NFL) June 25, 2020
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The league has been hemorrhaging fans over the past few years. People watch sports to relax, not to be lectured on politics.
Now, they are going after the religious freedom of their own players. This divisive decision will likely not be popular with Christian fans.
The NFL appears to believe coronavirus takes a break during political protests. But then comes roaring back with a vengeance when players practice their faith by attending church services.
Maybe the NFL believes the First Amendment applies only to liberal political agendas and not religious freedom?
— NFL (@NFL) June 7, 2020
NFL Policy Equates Church With Partying
The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in question puts attending church on the same level as partying.
The agreement bans more than just religious services with attendance over 25 percent capacity. It lumps church in with indoor nightclubs and bars, indoor concerts, professional sports games, and indoor parties that include 15 or more people.
From The Federalist:
As with more typical CBAs, players can face fines if they don’t comply with the restrictions on church and the other activities listed. The fines for each offense can vary, and while they haven’t been revealed for this agreement, violating the CBA used to regulate conduct on the field can result in fines from $5,000 to over $70,000.
If players do violate the rules, NBC Sports speculates that teams may “rely on contacts within the community to contact the team if/when violations are witnessed,” or even use a tip line. In other words, members of the community would be encouraged to report players they see trying to attend church. Other ideas suggested by NBC include tracking players or stationing officials at “local establishments,” potentially including players’ houses of worship.
NBC Sports also reported that if players test positive for COVID-19 after participating in a prohibited activity, they will not be paid for the games they have to sit out. And, that guarantees made for their contracts would be voided .
It’s unlikely this unprecedented NFL policy will sit well with Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt who has fostered a culture of Christian faith among the Super Bowl champions.
Hunt allows church services at the stadium. So Chiefs players who want to participate in church services will hopefully still have that option.