Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Reverses Call On Church Parties

It took an uproar from Congress for the football league to change course.

The NFL, which found itself on the receiving end of protests and controversy after it objected to churches showing the Super Bowl on big-screen televisions, has reversed course and will now permit the viewings.

In a letter to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would not object to “live showings — regardless of screen size — of the Super Bowl” by religious organizations.

In response to questions from Hatch, Goodell said in the letter, dated Feb. 19, the NFL will implement the policy starting with next year’s Super Bowl.

A story in The Washington Post about churches — most of them evangelical — canceling their Super Bowl parties because they were afraid of lawsuits from the NFL if they showed the game on their jumbo screens kicked up a storm of protest on Capitol Hill and among some conservative leaders.

The NFL sent two churches a letter last year saying they violated the league’s policy. I don’t know what the law says, but to me if someone isn’t charging admittance to view the sporting event, the church should be allowed to do so.

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