Basically there are four issues at stake. First is that the church was originally going to charge for the viewing, but that was to only cover the cost of snacks. Secondly the church was using the “license protected” (what does that mean?) name “Super Bowl” in their advertising. Apparently you cannot use the name of the event to promote the event. That seems odd. Thirdly, the size of the screen that they were going to view on became an issue. Finally, and this is not being commented on in many of the blogs that I have been to about this story, is that the NFL, according to this article, objects to the fact that the church is showing a video of the Christian testimony of the two coaches who are playing in the Super Bowl.
I can understand the issue about charging for the event. Even if it was to just cover snacks, then it seems a bit hard to see the difference in paying for snacks and paying for the event. The church agreed to not charge anything.
What I seriously don’t understand is that the NFL does not want the church to use the words “Super Bowl” to promote the event. They say it is a “license protected” name. Does that mean that each time I use the words “Super Bowl” in this blog posting that I am risking being sued even more from the NFL? The church agreed to drop the “license protected” name from their promotion.
The size of the screen is limited to 55 inches for viewing purposes. The article does not make it clear, but the way I read it is that, by law, you cannot view content on a TV larger than 55 inches. Is that just NFL content? Is that only if you are viewing outside your own home? What if I went to a friend’s house and watched his 62″ TV. Am I breaking the law? This really seems strange. The article says that is a violation of a law, not just a term of the NFL.
The NFL apparently has the right to say what you can and cannot show along with the game.
Besides the mentioned faults, the NFL also went on to ban the church’s plan to affect nonmembers with a tape emphasizing the Christian testimonies of Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, coaches of the Colts and Bears, respectively.
“While this may be a noble message,” NFL assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies wrote in a follow-up email, “we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content.”
What does that mean? You cannot show the game “in connection with events that promote a message…” So you cannot show beer advertisements during the Super Bowl? Don’t those promote a message? What about any advertising? Ok, outside of their advertising, you cannot show anything that promotes a message. So you cannot also have another TV going that has a religious program on I guess. But, if you are not allowed to show the game outside of your own home, and you are not allowed to have anyone else watch the game at your house (because they would be outside of their own home), then they are saying they have total control over what you can and cannot watch, or listen to, or talk about while the game is being aired. And, that would mean that if the game is legal to show outside of your home on a smaller TV, then it certainly would not be legal to show in a church which promotes a message.
There is something wrong about all of this. It seems that the NFL has seriously overstepped their bounds.
To the church’s credit, the Pastor said that he will not break the law. So apparently he has called off the event completely to be in compliance. The downside is that big media has once again shown that they can wield their power and cause havoc on the law abiding public. Without going into a diatribe about this, this is just another example of where the laws only hurt the lawful. The ones who are going to break the law will do it anyway and get away with it.
Now about my thoughts as to whether a church should even put on an event like this…