#ClemsonStrong Just Proves My Point: There’s No Room on the Football Team for Non-Religious Players

I really don’t understand how anyone could look at the situation taking place on the Clemson University football team — where the coach’s Christianity is allowed to run rampant and players are pressured to attend religious events even if it’s outside of practice — and think it’s okay.

My theory is that they don’t think it’s a big deal because it’s the faith of the majority. “Everyone” in South Carolina is Christian, so what’s the big deal if it seeps onto the football field?

But that’s precisely the problem. Everyone on the team, Coach Dabo Swinney included, can practice their faith as they wish, but when you’re in uniform representing a public university, there’s no room for proselytizing. No non-Christian player should have to choose between pretending to be religious to curry favor with the coach and being true to their own beliefs. There’s plenty of opportunity to hold religious events off the field — so why not just leave it there?. (I’d say the same thing if we were talking about an atheist coach pressuring players to stop believing in God. As if that would ever happen.)

Ellen Meny wrote an article for The Tiger News, the school’s newspaper, that’s downright hilarious. Meny wants to say that there’s no proselytizing problem and groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation are making a big deal out of nothing:

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Clemson Football Coach Responds to Complaints About the Religious Nature of His Team… by Not Talking About It

For weeks now, we’ve been talking about the overt religiosity on Clemson University’s football team. They have baptisms after practice and a paid team chaplain. Coach Dabo Swinney has chartered buses to take team members to Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfasts. It’s over the top and completely unconstitutional at a public school.

Now, Swinney has issued an official response to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s complaint letter:

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No, Jesus Did Not Get Booed at a Hockey Game on Easter Sunday

According to a story at Yahoo Sports, yesterday’s Boston Bruins playoff game featured a fan who came out of hiding just for the occasion — and appeared on the Jumbotron:

That would be Jesus, a.k.a. “Thor,” who supposedly attended the game at TD Garden after asking around for a ticket… and getting an offer on the condition that he come dressed as the Savior.

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The Overt Christianity on Clemson University’s Football Team

In September of 2012, Jeff Scott, an assistant coach for Clemson University’s football team, tweeted a picture of a player getting baptized, surrounded by his teammates:

Considering this tweet came from a coach’s Twitter account, showed players in their uniforms, and seemed to take place on a school-owned practice field, you could make a strong case for how it was inappropriate.

Now, there’s evidence — lots of it — that this wasn’t just some one-off event. In fact, Clemson football is virtually intertwined with the promotion of Christianity and the Freedom From Religion Foundation has the details to prove it.

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Former Baseball Player Says of Teammate Convicted of Sexual Assault: ‘I Was Fooled by Chad Curtis’ Religious Beliefs’

We post a lot of stories on this site featuring religious leaders who get caught doing immoral, illegal things — and we often get pushback for that. We’re told they’re one-offs. Just anecdotes of bad eggs that prove nothing. I disagree completely. I think those stories show how God is not synonymous with good. Religious people are still fully capable of doing awful things.

Gabe Kapler just realized that. He was a professional baseball player for twelve years, including a stint as an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox in 2004 when they won the World Series. In an essay for Fox Sports, Kapler — a secular Jew — writes about one of his former teammates, a guy he once had a lot of respect for:



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