The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist advocacy group, is accusing NFL legend-turned-coach Deion Sanders of mixing in "football games and events with Christianity."
The FFRF, based in Madison, Wisconsin, sent an open letter to University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano about Sanders, who now coaches there, following alleged complaints from Colorado residents over the incorporation of faith in football.
According to CBN News, the group noted that Sanders has been "engaging in religious exercises with players and staff members."
"It is our understanding that on December 20, 2022, a staff member led other staff members in a Christian prayer to start an official meeting," the letter reads. "More egregiously, on January 16, 2023, Coach Sanders directed a staff member to lead players and coaches in Christian prayer before a team meeting."
According to the invocations transcript, Sanders said: "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 FFRF concluded the letter by telling the university to "take action" to protect students and let Sanders know "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," the letter added. "He may not promote religion in his capacity as head coach."
On February 1, the group shared an update that the University of Colorado responded and shared that the college's Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance met with Sanders to discuss several issues, including "guidance on the boundaries in which players and coaches may and may not engage in religious expression."
Sanders, who is outspoken about his Christian faith, praised God during an introductory press conference on December 4 after being named the university's head coach.
"Wow. Don't you ever tell me what God ain't. Don't you ever tell me His limits," Sanders declared. "Don't you ever tell me what you're up against and what you can't do."
"Out of all the persons in the world, God chose me," he added. "For that, I thank Him; for that, I love Him; for that, I magnify Him; for that, I glorify Him; for that, I praise Him; for that, I owe Him. Each and every day, I'm trying to please Him."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Maddie Meyer/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.