As Robert King of the Indianapolis Star first reported on Feb. 1: “NFL officials spotted a promotion of [Fall Creek Baptist Church’s] ‘Super Bowl Bash’ on the church Web site last week and sent pastor John D. Newland a letter — via FedEx overnight — demanding the party be canceled.” (As of this writing, this piece had sparked 466 passionate comments — about 90% of them upset with the NFL.)
Initially, the NFL objected to the church’s use of the words ‘Super Bowl’ in promoting the party, and for charging a fee (which the church intended to use to pay for snacks). But after Pastor Newland told the NFL he would drop the fee and the use of ‘Super Bowl,’ the NFL then objected to the church’s plans to show the game on a screen bigger than 55 inches — another copyright issue.
“‘For us to have all our congregation huddled around a TV that is big enough only for 10 or 12 people to watch just makes little sense,’ [said Newland]…. [He] said his church won’t break the law. But he sees a double standard at work when sports bars with giant screens can charge barstool rental fees and sell food, but his church can’t offer a free event for families.
‘It just frustrates me that most of the places where crowds are going to gather to watch this game are going to be places that are filled with alcohol and other things that are inappropriate for children,’ Newland said. ‘We tried to provide an alternative to that and were shut down.'”
But as Newsday reports, some churches may be willing to test the NFL’s enforcement threats:
“Freeport’s Zion Cathedral Church of God [in New York] was planning an annual gathering for dinner, religious teaching and the Super Bowl projected on two 10-foot-by-10-foot screens. Told yesterday by Newsday that the event could be illegal, the church’s pastor, Bishop Frank White, said it would continue as planned. ‘This is a church,’ he said. ‘I’m redeeming drug addicts. I’m trying to teach men fatherhood. This really disturbs me greatly.'”
Letters to the Editor, Indianapolis Star, Feb. 4, 2007:
“The NFL’s sudden crackdown on churches’ copyright-infringing Super Bowl parties is outrageous (‘Sorry, churches, the party’s over,’ Feb. 2).
I still fail to understand how a group gathering to watch the game on a TV that has a screen larger than 55 inches is infringing on the NFL’s copyright and how the NFL is being harmed. Yet it is OK to do the same thing in a bar or other similar establishment. Do you think advertising dollars from the major breweries have anything to do with that policy?
But with that said, I’m disappointed in the churches’ reaction to the NFL’s threats. There was a time when churches were at the forefront of social action and civil disobedience. Apparently, that’s not the case anymore. Despite the public outcry over the NFL’s policy, churches are ready and willing to just roll over and give in. It’s outrageous that we allow big business to rule our lives for no apparent justifiable reason, yet when confronted we just sit back and meekly submit. – Lowell K. Heusel, Indianapolis”
NFL Party Rules
For groups that want to host Super Bowl parties — other than sports bars and businesses that normally show televised sports — here are rules the NFL says must be followed:
– No admission fees (even to pay for snacks).
– Only one television (55 inches or smaller).
– No use of the words “Super Bowl” in promotional materials.
– No exhibition of the game in connection with events “that promote a message.”
Is My Super Bowl Party Illegal?
Slate – Feb. 2
NFL cracks down on churches’ Sunday parties
Associated Press – Feb. 2
1) Write or call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and demand that the NFL stop bullying consumers and threatening organizations who want to show the Super Bowl.
National Football League
280 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10017
tel: (212) 450-2000
2) Ask your Congressional Representative to take action against the NFL’s unreasonable Super Bowl copyright rules.
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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