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NFL's Benjamin Watson: Coaches Should Be Allowed to Pray on Field After Game

 

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 05:45 PM

The suspension of a high-school football coach for saying a prayer at the 50-yard line following a game was a wrongheaded move that exposes a double standard in America's views on religious freedom, New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson tells Newsmax TV.

"It speaks to the hypocrisy that we're seeing. It's crazy to me," Watson, author of the new book "Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race — and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us," said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."

"This football coach has a right after the game to pray and he's suspended. But yet when tragedies happen, when these horrible things happen, when someone is ill, when it's something that's out of our control, we always feel like we have the need to go to a higher power and pray."

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The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Watson made the comments just weeks after football coach Joe Kennedy, performing what he said was a personal act of faith, knelt and prayed at the 50 yard line at Bremerton High School in Washington state.

The school district suspended him with pay and is now debating whether to renew his contract — despite the fact the prayer had been a longtime ritual for the team.

"In our daily life, we want to shun God and we want to say we can take care of this on our own," Watson said.

"All I'm saying is, is God the god who we look to for comfort during tragedies? Is he the god who can control all those things or is he the god that we don't even trust with our daily lives? … As long as there's prayer and exams, as long as there's games, there will be prayers."

Watson's book came about as he was reflecting on race in America, following the shooting of a black teen by a white cop in Ferguson, Missouri, which led to rioting and looting and sparked a national debate about the treatment of African Americans by law enforcement.

"As you know, this topic doesn't seem to be going anywhere. This is a very important topic that we need to talk about," said Watson, adding that not all protests against racial prejudice work.

"I don't approve of many of the attacks of Black Lives Matter, I don't. There comes a place where you need to respect. When people are speaking, you don't comment," he said of the group that heckled Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at campaign events.

"There are certain things you don't say that's disrespectful. They detract from the point you're trying to make," said Watson, a Christian and father of five.

"I feel like we all, black and white, have a role in this narrative. It's important that we see where we stand in this whole thing."

Watson's book, written with Ken Peterson, is published by Tyndale Momentum.

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The suspension of a high-school football coach for saying a prayer at the 50-yard line following a game was a wrongheaded move that exposes a double standard in America's views on religious freedom, New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson tells Newsmax TV.
benjamin watson, nfl, religious, freedom
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2015-45-18
Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 05:45 PM
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