‘NFL legend-turned-coach’ to undergo ‘training’ after atheists complained about ‘religious exercises’

Head football coach Deion Sanders was attacked by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) atheists who accused him of “inappropriate and unconstitutional actions” by “engaging in religious exercises with players and staff members.”

The University of Colorado has now forced the NFL legend to submit to “training” on the “boundaries” of “religious expression” as it pertains to his job.

In a letter responding to FFRF, the school stated that Sanders was “very receptive to this training and came away from it with a better understanding of the University of Colorado’s policies.”

The move by the college comes after Sanders indicated that he wanted to engage in “religious exercises” with the team’s members and staff. That’s when the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation stepped in and filed a complaint calling on the university to censor such activities.

The group wrote a letter on Feb. 1 to the University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano that accused Sanders of engaging in unacceptable behavior. Sanders took over as Colorado’s head coach in December. The letter from the foundation specifically mentions that period of time.

The letter asserted that “multiple concerned Colorado residents” said Sanders “has been infusing his program with Christianity and engaging in religious exercises with players and staff members.”

“It is our understanding that on Dec. 20, a staff member led other staff members in a Christian prayer to start an official meeting,” FFRF’s letter stated. “More egregiously, on Jan. 16, Coach Sanders directed a staff member to lead players and coaches in Christian prayer before a team meeting.”

The letter specifically singled out one of Coach Prime’s prayers with the football team, “Lord, we thank You for this day, Father, for this opportunity as a group. Father, we thank You for the movement that God has put us in place to be in charge of. We thank You for each player here, each coach, each family. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.”

The letter contended that a number of legal precedents were violated, including a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that purportedly prohibits religious activities in educational settings. The letter intimated that student-athletes may feel pressured to participate even if doing so conflicts with their religious convictions.

The letter continued, “Coach Sanders’ team is full of young and impressionable student-athletes who would not risk giving up their scholarship, giving up playing time or losing a good recommendation from the coach by speaking out or voluntarily opting out of his unconstitutional religious activities—even if they strongly disagreed with his beliefs. Coaches exert great influence and power over student-athletes and those athletes will follow the lead of their coach. Using a coaching position to promote Christianity amounts to religious coercion.”

“The University should not lend its power and prestige to religion, amounting to a governmental advancement of religion that excludes the nearly thirty-seven percent of Americans who are non-Christians, and the nearly one in three Americans who now identify as religiously unaffiliated. Sanders’ religious activities alienate and exclude a significant portion of your students and staff members,” the foundation wrote.

“The University of Colorado must take action to protect its student-athletes and to ensure that Sanders understands that he has been hired as a football coach and not a pastor. We request that Sanders be educated as to his constitutional duties under the Establishment Clause. He may not promote religion in his capacity as head coach. We further request notification in writing of the actions the University is taking to ensure that Sanders will not continue to proselytize to his players or subject them to coercive team prayers,” the letter concluded.

While Sanders was the head coach at Jackson State University, his faith never became an issue. But the University of Colorado is a far different story.

(Video Credit: CelebrationBaptist)

According to Blavity, “Coach Prime often referred to his religious beliefs and commitment to God as the main principles of his coaching philosophy and justification for accepting the position at an HBCU. He famously called his contract as Jackson State’s head coach in 2020 ‘a match made in heaven’ and said he had ‘no doubt’ God had a hand in the decision.”

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