In May of this year, a YouTube video circulated of Toledo head coach Matt Campbell leading UT’s football team in the Lord’s Prayer before the 2012 Glass Bowl.
That video was not appreciated by everyone.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Toledo’s president stating that the prayer was a “serious and flagrant violation of the first amendment.” According to NBC Sports the FFRF stated they were alerted by a UT alumni.
As a result of the protest, the Toledo Blade stated three first amendment experts agreed the prayers were unconstitutional. After all of the ruckus, it was decided there would no longer be a formal pregame prayer.
Coach Campbell, a man who practices the Catholic religion, did not let his beliefs be wavered by the outcome.
“I won’t change my values or who I am. I’m so proud of the positive choices our student-athletes make to represent the University, the Toledo community, and the Rocket Nation around the globe. And I know this community is also proud of our team,” Campbell said.
No players were forced to pray, although some atheist may argue that the players prayed in order to please the coach or be apart of the team. Let’s just take a leap in the other direction and say the players participated because they believe in a higher power, that a part of prayer is to come together with your teammates.
A violation of the first amendment would be forcing the players to pray and that did not occur. Freedom of speech, press or religion, unless it’s something you don’t agree with. I’m sure that’s not how the first amendment reads.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports