Contributor Post Created with Sketch. HS Football Coach Suspended for Joining a Team Prayer

 

It has been a tough few weeks for football suspensions. As lurid tales of players beating women and “whooping” children dominate the headlines, a successful Arizona high school football coach has been suspended for an even more shocking offense:

Tempe Prep football coach Tommy Brittain has been suspended two weeks for praying with his team after the Show Low [Ariz.] win two weeks ago, his wife, Melissa, confirmed.

This was a school decision that came down this week, Brittain’s wife said…

“He’s walking on eggshells, and he doesn’t want to make the situation worse,” Melissa said of her husband, who was teaching Friday at Tempe Prep.

Brittain, who has a strong Christian faith with his large, close football family, led Tempe Prep to a 19-18 victory last week over then No.2 Phoenix Northwest Christian…

Brittain is not allowed to attend tonight’s game nor next week’s game at Valley Christian.

According to the Arizona Republic, the coach, athletic director and headmaster aren’t responding to media requests.

I find it is disturbing that joining a team prayer carries the same suspension that Ray Rice originally received for knocking his fiancée unconscious.

According to a local photojournalist, the kids are standing behind their coach:

There are 26 comments.

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  1. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Not shocking, but it’s sad. Still, if he chooses, he can move on with his career. Perhaps he should consider a private school that allows prayer?

    • #1
    • September 19, 2014, at 9:36 PM PDT
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  2. Melissa Praemonitus Member

    Thank goodness that behind every priggish progressive adult who thinks he has his finger on the pulse of the culture, there are rebellious teens who won’t stand for it. Those kids should use their education in social organizing to fight for their coach. They will win.

    • #2
    • September 19, 2014, at 11:19 PM PDT
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  3. Profile Photo Member

    Oh the horrors. He should have said it was part of his 5 prayers a day to Mecca. They would have built him a monument. And of course the brutality to women and gays would have been upheld as exemplary conduct. But alas, the sap is probably a Christian. Too bad. He must now walk the plank or whatever they do do.

    • #3
    • September 19, 2014, at 11:55 PM PDT
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  4. AndTheRest Inactive

    This coach praying with his team is clearly an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

    Also, state action against this praying coach is clearly an unconstitutional prohibition on free exercise of religion.

    The only logical conclusion: government schools are unconstitutional.

    • #4
    • September 20, 2014, at 12:44 AM PDT
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  5. Guruforhire Member

    Its funny because the NYT was having a bed-wetting session on how to get more men into education just a week or 2 ago.

    • #5
    • September 20, 2014, at 5:05 AM PDT
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  6. Doug Watt Moderator

    Irony is the Hunter

    An article about Coach Brittain and his family from Arizona Central is featured on Tempe Prep’s website. The article mentions the family’s devout Catholic faith. I suppose the lesson learned is when it benefits Tempe Prep to display Coach Brittain’s faith the school administrators had no problem re-publishing the Arizona Central article. The school became quite distressed when he actually practiced his faith.  

    • #6
    • September 20, 2014, at 6:12 AM PDT
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  7. Dr. Strangelove Thatcher
    Dr. StrangeloveJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt: Irony is the Hunter. An article about Coach Brittain and his family from Arizona Central is featured on Tempe Prep’s website. The article mentions the family’s devout Catholic faith. I suppose the lesson learned is when it benefits Tempe Prep to display Coach Brittain’s faith the school administrators had no problem re-publishing the Arizona Central article. The school became quite distressed when he actually practiced his faith.

    Nice catch! Put another way, Tempe Prep found its coach’s faith was sufficiently commendable to brag about but simultaneously so repugnant he had to be punished for exhibiting it by leading his team in thanking a higher power for being blessed with victory.

    I agree this is ironic, but I think your find primarily reveals Tempe Prep’s hypocrisy.

    • #7
    • September 20, 2014, at 7:30 AM PDT
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  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    He should return in a couple weeks and lead another prayer with his team.

    #2 is right. The way to break this nonsense isn’t to sue in lawful or administrative courts. The solution is to deny their authority to ban prayer in the first place. They can fire the coach for any reason. But if the players and parents are committed, the school cannot suppress their prayers. And the community can make life uncomfortable for the administrators until they reinstate the coach.

    • #8
    • September 20, 2014, at 8:13 AM PDT
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  9. Profile Photo Member

    I think the time is not too distant before “Christian” and “homosexual” will be considered hate speech. “Gay” will replace the latter, but I don’t know what they will do about the former. It will be a word that combines disdain and hostility. The early Christians probably dealt with something similar “back in the day.” (Is there a phrase in modern idiom more useful than that one?)

    • #9
    • September 20, 2014, at 8:15 AM PDT
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  10. HeartofFLA Inactive

    If the students are allowed to organize and attend prayers, why isn’t the coach (or other school employees) allowed to attend? I did not see any info regarding student suspension over this activity. Add in the info regarding the coach’s faith on the school website and all you have is a muddled mess. Me thinks some parent (with a heavy financial interest in the school) got their panties in a wad over the incident and complained. These days school administrators knee-jerk react rather than thoughtfully consider all the sides before making a decision.

    Also, just to confirm, this is a private rather than a pubic school, correct?

    • #10
    • September 20, 2014, at 8:23 AM PDT
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  11. Doug Watt Moderator

    HeartofAmerica:If the students are allowed to organize and attend prayers, why isn’t the coach (or other school employees) allowed to attend? I did not see any info regarding student suspension over this activity. Add in the info regarding the coach’s faith on the school website and all you have is a muddled mess. Me thinks some parent (with a heavy financial interest in the school) got their panties in a wad over the incident and complained. These days school administrators knee-jerk react rather than thoughtfully consider all the sides before making a decision.

    Also, just to confirm, this is a private rather than a pubic school, correct?

    Public charter school

    • #11
    • September 20, 2014, at 8:29 AM PDT
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  12. flownover Member

    Wonder what McCain and Brewer have to say about this ?

    Or has faith become a third rail in our country ?

    • #12
    • September 20, 2014, at 10:37 AM PDT
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  13. T-Fiks Member

    When I recently retired from public education, our principal compiled a set of tributes and farewell messages from colleagues to be shown on a video at the year-end all-school assembly. Our office manager, with whom I share a surreptitious Christian faith, made the sign of the cross as she stated “God bless you” at the conclusion of her short remarks. The principal edited out her complete appearance–and hers alone.

    When I wandered into the office after the assembly and she told me what had happened, I could almost see steam coming out of her ears.

    • #13
    • September 20, 2014, at 10:49 AM PDT
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  14. Al Sparks Thatcher

    HeartofAmerica:If the students are allowed to organize and attend prayers, why isn’t the coach (or other school employees) allowed to attend?

    I don’t know what the school policy is with regards to students praying. They are probably limited in what they can do so they don’t try. But this was a school event, not a private one, and the coach was on the job. That means he’s subject to the school’s policies for its employees.

    • #14
    • September 20, 2014, at 11:27 AM PDT
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  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The reason such policies are unacceptable is that they are atheist rather than agnostic. They do not merely forbid or discourage proselytizing. Rather, they establish a vision of life without God’s active influence as the default worldview.

    Deists are expected to pay lip service to this godless, soul-less worldview, even to forgo religious symbols and gestures. It’s not just that we are commanded not to pray in shared spaces. We are discouraged from even mentioning God in passing.

    Such policies reject freedom for intellectual diversity.

    And they ignore the plain fact that a person who believes in the Jewish/Christian God necessarily perceives that Being as the center of all life and history. To pointedly exclude the ever-present purpose and inspiration of one’s existence is not a small concession. It is not a reasonable demand of civility.

    • #15
    • September 20, 2014, at 12:02 PM PDT
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  16. danys Thatcher
    danysJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Imagine the leftists’ consternation about teens rebelling in favor of the coach who prays. God is not The Man.

    • #16
    • September 20, 2014, at 1:02 PM PDT
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  17. Doug Watt Moderator

    Why would prayers be excluded among football players. If atheists are offended by any mention of God are not Christians entitled to be offended by the exclusion of any mention of God. In a public school system supported by Christian taxpayers why do atheists have the final word? Isn’t atheism faith based with their own creed that states God does not exist? I don’t remember anything in the Constitution that states God must not be mentioned on public property.

    • #17
    • September 20, 2014, at 1:12 PM PDT
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  18. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    To say that a team prayer is an “establishment of religion” is absolute nonsense.

    • #18
    • September 20, 2014, at 10:08 PM PDT
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  19. Douglas Inactive

    flownover:Wonder what McCain and Brewer have to say about this ?

    Or has faith become a third rail in our country ?

    The aim of all this is to make faith something shameful and hidden. In other words, put the religious in the closet where the homosexuals used to be.

    • #19
    • September 21, 2014, at 12:17 AM PDT
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  20. Concretevol Thatcher

    I don’t get this. There is a prayer before football games at public universities every Saturday. Nothing short of an apology to this coach is acceptable.

    • #20
    • September 21, 2014, at 8:03 AM PDT
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  21. Profile Photo Member

    I think the problem with this is it’s not a freedom of religion issue. Fundamentally, it’s a freedom of speech issue specifically being brought down on the coach. Why can the players say a prayer and not the coach? Isn’t the coach gauranteed the same protections as the players? Shouldn’t the players be suspended as well? This seems like an arbitrary use of punishment and I would suggest the coach sue whoever into the next century. Am I missing something?

    • #21
    • September 21, 2014, at 9:23 AM PDT
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  22. Max Knots Member

    Agree with 3rd Angle Proj.
    “…and I would suggest the coach sue whoever into the next century. ”

    This is such a monumental misunderstanding of the prohibition against state establishment of a religion, that one can only hope the teachers have a better understanding than their administrators. Otherwise the circle of ignorance will only expand. We’ve already lost a generation of journalists to this false understanding of the Constitution. The parents must demand the change and hit the schools where they are most sensitive – fire the offending bureaucrats. Fire the school board. Get involved yourself. Don’t let others do all the work.

    • #22
    • September 21, 2014, at 11:52 AM PDT
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  23. MarciN Member

    What has become of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? I thought that it was passed to prevent this kind of persecution of people praying in public.

    • #23
    • September 21, 2014, at 12:50 PM PDT
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  24. Al Sparks Thatcher

    3rd angle projection:I think the problem with this is it’s not a freedom of religion issue. Fundamentally, it’s a freedom of speech issue specifically being brought down on the coach. Why can the players say a prayer and not the coach? Isn’t the coach gauranteed the same protections as the players? Shouldn’t the players be suspended as well? This seems like an arbitrary use of punishment and I would suggest the coach sue whoever into the next century. Am I missing something?

    If this was a school event (and I understand that it was), the students plausibly have freedom of speech protections, though it’s not unrestricted (e.g. profanity while at school or disrupting the class). As an employee on the job, the coach does not. And that’s pretty well the way it is with any employer in the United States. An employer can restrict speech on the premises or on the job. And that also includes proselytizing or prayer.

    As a matter of fact, employers have been known to fire people for conduct off the job, including “hate speech” or even speaking against gay marriage.

    There’s lots of reasons why a coach should be allowed to pray with his players. But this is not a freedom of speech issue in the legal or constitutional sense.

    • #24
    • September 21, 2014, at 11:13 PM PDT
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  25. Profile Photo Member

    Al Sparks:

    3rd angle projection:I think the problem with this is it’s not a freedom of religion issue. Fundamentally, it’s a freedom of speech issue specifically being brought down on the coach. Why can the players say a prayer and not the coach? Isn’t the coach gauranteed the same protections as the players? Shouldn’t the players be suspended as well? This seems like an arbitrary use of punishment and I would suggest the coach sue whoever into the next century. Am I missing something?

    If this was a school event (and I understand that it was), the students plausibly have freedom of speech protections, though it’s not unrestricted (e.g. profanity while at school or disrupting the class). As an employee on the job, the coach does not. And that’s pretty well the way it is with any employer in the United States. An employer can restrict speech on the premises or on the job. And that also includes proselytizing or prayer.

    As a matter of fact, employers have been known to fire people for conduct off the job, including “hate speech” or even speaking against gay marriage.

    There’s lots of reasons why a coach should be allowed to pray with his players. But this is not a freedom of speech issue in the legal or constitutional sense.

    Do not public schools generate dollars from said student athletes participating in football? If one participates in activities to raise funds for said institution, does that not mean said student athlete is ipso facto an employee of said institution? Even though they are afforded no compensation? If nobody shows up who cares? But people do show up. Nobody in the US volunteers for a public institution and gives up the right to compensation. In fact, volunteering has very restrictive laws. Do not unions protect against such state action? The reality is student athletes do get compensation, just not monetarily. They get clothing, ie., uniforms (home/away/warm-ups/tee-shirts), socks and shoes. They get luggage, on-field and off-field healthcare, transportation, lodging and meal money.

    Players dress, play and generate money. They are income. They generate money for said institution. They’re willing yet unpaid slaves to the sate. In a sense, both student athlete and coach are owned by the state. One is compensated monetarily, the other is not but compelled to be held by the state because of restrictive market place rules. The result is the state makes money off of both. I say, pray and go to jail for both the student athlete and coach because both are paid by the state. Otherwise, we’re inconsistent and arbitrary.

    • #25
    • September 22, 2014, at 1:00 AM PDT
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  26. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    Al Sparks:

    If this was a school event (and I understand that it was), the students plausibly have freedom of speech protections, though it’s not unrestricted (e.g. profanity while at school or disrupting the class). As an employee on the job, the coach does not. And that’s pretty well the way it is with any employer in the United States. An employer can restrict speech on the premises or on the job. And that also includes proselytizing or prayer.

    As a matter of fact, employers have been known to fire people for conduct off the job, including “hate speech” or even speaking against gay marriage.

    There’s lots of reasons why a coach should be allowed to pray with his players. But this is not a freedom of speech issue in the legal or constitutional sense.

    I think that this would be true if it were a private school, but I see the dilemma when it is a public school. When a government-funded entity says that no prayers shall be said by its employees while undertaking their duties, I think that this comes perilously close to impeding the free exercise of religion.

    • #26
    • September 22, 2014, at 6:48 AM PDT
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