Addressing religion in high school sports

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Even the most outspoken football coaches, guys who will talk your ear off about the elements of the perfect screen pass, can become tight-lipped when the topic turns to religion and their team.

“I would prefer to have discussions/interviews on the topic of football and game performances,” one prominent Georgia high school coach said.

Multiple coaches refused to discuss how they address religion with their teams. In an age of ultra-political correctness, it’s hard to blame them. Few things, if any, spark more passionate debate than religion.

“It starts with respect. We want to make sure that we respect everyone’s beliefs, first and foremost,” said Milton High School athletic director Gary Sylvestri. “When it comes to religion, we try to separate it from football, keeping coaches out of it.”

Sylvestri estimates that 30 percent of the Milton football team regularly participates in Fellowship of Christian Athletes events, which are student-driven, voluntary and held after school hours.

“We have a very diverse school and team,” Sylvestri added. “I couldn’t tell you all the different religions, but we try to respect everyone’s beliefs.”

But some public school coaches do address religion with their teams. And some cross a line that has attracted attention from religious freedom advocates.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent 24 complaint letters to Georgia schools this year, according to staff attorney Rebecca Markert.

“We wrote to 47 states, including [District of Columbia] in 2011, and Georgia ranked 19th,” Markert said in an email. “The top five were Texas, Wisconsin, California, Michigan and Ohio respectively.  I don’t have the rankings yet for 2012- we do that at the end of the year-but it appears [Georgia] would be higher than average for 2012.”

Ridgeland High School football coach Mark Mariakis is the target of one of the recent complaint letters. The FFRF alleges Mariakis used his influence to promote his religious beliefs to his players by holding pre-game meals at churches, encouraging them to attend a Christian-based football camp among other faith-based acts.

“We ask that the coach separates his religious views from his job and not take advantage of his position of authority to spread his beliefs,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-President of the FFRF.

The FFRF has received angry, profanity-laced emails and even a death threat in response to their complaint against Mariakis.

Mariakis has not returned multiple phone messages and emails asking for comment on the complaint. Walker County Superintendent Damon Raines also has not responded to emails and messages left with his office.

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Sign of support at a Rossville auto dealer ship. (Photo courtesy of Cole Chapman)

Meanwhile, the North Georgia community of Rossville is rallying behind Mariakis. Signs expressing support can be seen around town, according to Adrian Hullander, a 2009 graduate of Ridgeland High School, who teamed with other residents to create a Facebook page in support of Mariakis.

“We put it up and got 5,000 likes on the first day,” Hullander said.

The page had more than 9,200 “Likes” as of Tuesday morning. Residents also are organizing a car wash to raise money for T-shirts in support of Mariakis.

Hullander says the team has several members of different religions, including atheists, and “none of them have ever said anything about being uncomfortable.”

Ridgeland opens its season at No. 1 Calhoun on Friday.

50 comments Add your comment

Hardhat

August 28th, 2012
10:22 am

Church and state have to be separate. I would hate to see a good coach lose a job for that. He can lead by example he doesn’t have to knee and pray to do that. Coaches are role models.

HSCoach

August 28th, 2012
10:42 am

The use of the 1st Amendment in this case is far reaching. I agree with what Coach Mariakis is doing. Being a high school football coach has reached a lot further than just x’s and o’s. I hope coach keeps doing what he’s doing and doesn’t back down when this ffrf organization is using scare tactics because they do not have a case. Keep up the fight coach and God Bless you!

[...] Addressing religion in high school sportsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)“I would prefer to have discussions/interviews on the topic of football and game performances,” one prominent Georgia high school coach said. Multiple coaches refused to discuss how they address religion with their teams. In an age of ultra-political … [...]

1bighammer

August 28th, 2012
11:37 am

@hardhat…

“Church and state have to be separate”

See thats where you are WRONG! No where in the constitution, bill of rights, or declaration of independence does it state that.

What the First Amendment says is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

The fact that a coach ministers to his players or a church feeds them in no way “establishes a religion” or “prohibits the free excercise of another”.

Truth Seeker

August 28th, 2012
12:30 pm

1bighammer – the school receives federal funding, so yes, he is is prohibited from “ministering” to his players or endorsing any religion.

sportsnut

August 28th, 2012
12:50 pm

Almost all of society has forgotten. This issue goes to the wimpifying of America. When I was in school. we had a pastor or reverend or someone of faith give an invocation before games for the sake of the health of the players and the attending crowd to be safe in their travels. There was no trying to persuade anyone to change what they believe. The expulsion of God from schools is mans doing and reflects a major shift in the morality of man. We have “In God We Trust” on all our currency. The Georgia General Assembly opens with a prayer each session. The country was founded on a belief that there was a higher power. If the majority of people who are believers in this thought came together, this would not be an issue. No person should be punished in any way for doing what God has commanded of him. There should be more like this coach and stand up to the establishment as there is nothing wrong as God ask this of all of us.

1bighammer

August 28th, 2012
12:53 pm

@ Truth Seeker

The problem with him being “prohibited” is just as I said above. The “separation of church and state” is an incorrect interpretation of the first amendment.

So what your saying is Technically he as a teacher can’t excercise his religious freedom because he is a Government employee? So I guess he has to stop going to a church if any of his players go there? If they here him praying it would be the government “Endorsing ” a religion?

This whole argument is stupid and is just one more reason why our society is going to hell in a handbag!

Truth Seeker

August 28th, 2012
1:10 pm

He can’t openly exercise them in school and he can’t force his players to listen to them at the school. I never said he could not exercise his beliefs outside the school.

How’s that so hard to comprehend?

Kevin Snyder

August 28th, 2012
1:15 pm

Truth Seeker – In the life of a Christian who is an athletic coach, his ministry IS his players. It is his duty to train them up in what is right, honorable, and moral.The duty cannot be separated from the man.
That needs to be done without endorsing any religion, or prohibiting the same. And, like everything else, there are grey areas. Team meetings in a church building? As long as there is not a service going on in the same room as the team meeting, it’s just another building. Coach leading a team prayer? Not allowed. Coach praying alone or with adult assistants? Most likely allowed (as long as no assistants feel “coerced”).
The Establishment Clause protects freedom of religion by preventing one denomination from being the State (established) religion. Throughout history, the state religion has always been co-opted by the State for its own purposes, to the detriment of the Church. Thus, the two clauses protect both the religious and the secular in this country, without infringing on the rights of either.
We need to allow for tolerance for this unique governmental ideal to work. Groups such as FFRF have become intolerant bullies, practicing the very acts which they vilify in others.

cw9580

August 28th, 2012
1:17 pm

The country was founded on freedom from religious persecution not faith in a higher power. It’s fine if you believe in an invisible guy in the sky – you just don’t have the right to impose your religion on anybody else. It’s interesting how the right wants absolute adherence to the 2nd amendment but not the first. No on is stifling your religion you are inserting it where it doesn’t belong.

YellowJacket

August 28th, 2012
1:52 pm

Lets say we have a coach who is Muslim or is Buddhist then what? Would you allow for team prayers to be conducted in that person’s faith or would you be up in arms? You have to separate church and state. Like the coach said, “It starts with respect.” We have to respect each others opinions and beliefs. We can’t assume that everyone in this world is Christian and we can’t assume that everyone has the same beliefs and upbringing.

1bighammer

August 28th, 2012
1:53 pm

@Truth Seeker
“He can’t openly exercise them in school and he can’t force his players to listen to them at the school. I never said he could not exercise his beliefs outside the school. ”

Since the first amendment doesn’t explicitly say ” not in a government building”, then that is an interpretation by someone. How long before someone sues and a court finds that as a government employee..they can’t be religious? Seem far fetched? I’ll bet the current interpretation would have been “far fetched” way back when.

It’s been made very clear that no one “Forced” the players to pray, they were given the option. Since schools themselves seldom pay for the pre-game meal for players, how can the government dictate who feeds them?

Had it been an atheist group that fed them and told them there was no god…would the FFRF have targeted them…I think not.

1bighammer

August 28th, 2012
2:04 pm

@Yellowjacket…

There’s the key thing “Would YOU allow for team prayers to be conducted in that person’s faith or would YOU be up in arms?” Any parents offended by this should have addressed the issue with the coach first. This FFRF is an outside entity with no vested interest in this team. Its nothing more than some group trying to get publicity.

battleaxekid

August 28th, 2012
3:08 pm

Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The keys here are:
#1. that they are endowed by their Creator.
#2. with unalienable Rights, which includes the following: among these are
#3. Life,
#4 Liberty
#5. and the pursuit of Happiness.

AND ABOVE ALL THERE IS ONE 1 law that stands stronger and more powerful than any other law on the books
“”"”"”"”"the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them”"”"”"”, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

And as long as we do not disrespect others as we venture to pray, worship, etc..and that is exactly what this statement tells us, as Americans…..

“”"”a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”"”"

To God be the Glory……. bruce Gal.2.20

Max Sizemore

August 28th, 2012
3:08 pm

So, are the top five states mentioned — starting with Texas — the best or the worst, according to FFRF’s definition?

Truth Seeker

August 28th, 2012
3:13 pm

Study your history my friends. The concept of church and state separation was the same in the 1780s and it is now. Keep in mind our founders were drafting a document only 100+ years removed from the 30 years war, Treaty of Westphalia, Inquisition, and, more recently to them, the Witch Trials.

So what is right, honorable, and moral is exclusively Christian? Seriously. Moreover, why are high school football coaches considered models for our young men. Most of them have degrees in recreational studies or some other joke major and their understanding of morals, etc. comes from either a book they read written by another coach or from some untrained preacher who felt the spirit. If you read the Bible closely I believe there several strong suggestions about not wearing your religion on your sleeve.

Oddly, I am a high school coach. Gotta love the attacks on the Courts though. The Courts are the last bastion of liberty in this country, but folks like Kevin Synder fail to understand that.

battleaxekid

August 28th, 2012
3:17 pm

There is more hatred and wars that has been over RELIGION than any other subject. This is why our Jesus came to deliver us from religion. See religion is man made, Christianity is God made… Am I religious????? no .

King Solomon wrote in the Old Testament, “there is a time and a place for everything”"”"….

and the time now is for football!!!!!!!!
The place is The Concrete Palace the 31st, this Friday… go mighty Vikings……..

David Purdum

August 28th, 2012
3:55 pm

@MaxSizemore: The states were listed by number of complaint letter sent by the FFRF.

Overall, good discussion, folks. And I appreciate your passion, while also keeping the debate civil. I’ll continue to try to get Coach Mariakis’ take on things. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any details you feel are pertinent to the story. dpurdum@ajc.com

J. Sims

August 28th, 2012
4:45 pm

Children are easily persuaded to believe anyone who is an authority figure, including their teachers and coaches. I believe this coach made a mistake and to correct it he and his other coaches need to stop having prayers with students and stop taking students/athletes to churches for any reason. It would be nice to see Georgia organizations speak up for what is right, but I applaude any group that tries to stop these things.

gwinnettnewguy

August 28th, 2012
4:50 pm

To the gentleman who talked about history, the truth of the matter is that Christian people, specifically Baptists, were among the leading proponents of the Bill of Rights & the idea of government not promote religion. The idea was the people would be free to choose what religion would be practiced & supported financially – not from government/taxes. In other words, no state sanctioned religion. So when you read about “separation of church and state” (from a letter by T. Jefferson) it really meant that the gov’t not establish a national or state religion. It had ZERO to do with individuals practicing their beliefs – even in the WORKPLACE.

If a coach forbids a player from playing on the team because they choose to not participate in a prayer or a meal at a church, then you have a legit. claim.

Also, as far as I’m concerned, let the Buddhist or Agnostic, or Islamic coach be free live out their faith. As long as the values/teachings are consistent with our laws (Sharia law is gonna cause a problem btw), then I don’t see a problem.

Truth Seeker

August 28th, 2012
5:12 pm

Gwinnettnewguy – Jefferson had zero to do with drafting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He was living it up in Paris. Not sure why you injected the comment about the Baptists (I assume you’re Baptist now). Most of drafters were deist.

To reiterate, I don’t think any of the opponents of this coach’s conduct have stated he cannot practice his religion. He simply cannot openly practice it in public school. And yes, the interpretations of the Establishment Clause agree with me.

Well said about the Buddhist, Islamic and Agnostics.

Finally (and my last comment of the day)…I sir am no gentleman.

gwinnettnewguy

August 28th, 2012
5:22 pm

1st: “well said about the Buddhist, Islamic and Agnostics”? not sure what that means, because my point was (in the context of my statement) I believe if you are one of the above mentioned religions you would “practice” it 24 – 7, which would mean incorporating it into your entire lifestyle, even as a coach.

2nd: If you are truly seeking the truth, you’ll want to brush up on your history. Thomas Jefferson is who wrote the letter regarding church and state separation, so that’s why I mentioned him. Baptists were the recipients of that letter, that’s why they are mentioned – SIR

to wit:
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.
Gentlemen
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802

gwinnettnewguy

August 28th, 2012
5:29 pm

& before you respond with my incorrect connections, I realize the Bill or Rights were drafted before this letter was written. No one wants to read a dissertation.

Suffice it to say that the issues (Bill of Rights & the sep. of church & state) are related.

The gov. can’t establish a religion – ie – force people by taxes to support a religion or keep people from practicing their own.

gwinnettnewguy

August 28th, 2012
5:30 pm

dilberth

August 28th, 2012
6:03 pm

This coach knows full-well that he stepped out of bounds. If this were a Christian school or Muslim school, then he can talk all day long about religion. But by his official capacity as a “person of trust”, in a public institution, he is duty-bound to refrain from religious indoctrinations or incantations. If I were one of his players, and would tend to stay as far away from this guy as possible. He looks like a bully coach.

gwinnettnewguy

August 28th, 2012
6:23 pm

people in the community have every right to participate in the school. The church is hosting a free meal for the football team. If Zaxby’s did it, would you complain they are trying to gain business or influence? If the Lion’s club did it, what would be the difference? Some of the kids might think the Lion’s club cared about them and one day join (gasp), but that would be THEIR choice to do so. Nobody is forcing anything on anybody.

runtheball

August 28th, 2012
6:28 pm

As a christian man, he is called by Jesus Christ to spread his convictions to the entire world.
Its not about football, “church and state” or anything else. Its way more important
than any of those things. Also as a christian man, I don’t believe some complaint letter will change the way he does things. At least I sure hope it doesn’t. This is THE most important aspect of every life that exists. He is doing what all of us should be. It is a fact, not an opinion. Keep spreading the good news. God will certainly bless you Mr. Mariakis.

RB

August 28th, 2012
7:50 pm

It’s not the coach’s job to force his beliefs in a virgin birth, resurrections, vicarious redemption via human sacrifice (predicated on animal sacrifice), heaven/hell, imaginary friends and enemies, superstition and magical thinking, etc., on other people’s children. It’s his job to teach football.

“The FFRF has received angry, profanity-laced emails and even a death threat in response their complaint against Mariakis”
Ah, Christian love…..there’s alot in TN too.

RB

August 28th, 2012
7:54 pm

@gwinnettnewguy

Sorry, study some more Con Law (perhaps in Law School) then get back with us.

RB

August 28th, 2012
7:56 pm

@1bighammer

You, too, should perhaps take a Con Law class then get back with us.

RB

August 28th, 2012
8:03 pm

@battleaxekid
1) The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document.
2) Even so, the “Creator” was a compromise and refers to a deistic “Creator” (and remember, at that time in history, they did not know what we know today with respect to the age of the earth/universe, evolution/natural selection, etc.- the gaps in their knowledge which sustained even a deistic god at that time have pretty much disappeared and I’m pretty sure they would all be at least agnostic but probably ignostic or atheists if they knew what we know today).
3) The only mention of religion in our Constitution is exclusionary.

RB

August 28th, 2012
8:04 pm

Finally, may you all be touched by the noodly appendages of the flying spaghetti monster.

Andy Marin

August 28th, 2012
9:16 pm

The Supreme Court has ruled on these types of cases many times. In the case of a state employee acting in an official capacity they *always* find prayers an illegal activity.
The Supreme Court has also noted that such action are especially egregious when dealing with school children who are impressionable and easily co-erced through authority figures and peer groups.
The FFRF performs a valuable service, the Establishment clause does protect citizens from Freedom FROM Religion in Government (and Freedom OF Religion in your personal life). This is where the FFRF gets its name.

Andy Marin

August 28th, 2012
9:20 pm

@gwinnettnewguy – There would be no problem for non-religous groups to host a meal, that would not violate the 1st Amendment. So, Zaxbys and the Lion’s Club are in the clear. Ministries are not.

Hs coach

August 28th, 2012
11:44 pm

Enter your comments here

Hs coach

August 28th, 2012
11:54 pm

@truth seeker:
First, let me say that your comment that some coaches have degrees in recreational studies or some other “joke” is seriously condescending. You’re not lying, but you are grossly under estimating others. I, for one, have a masters degree in diplomatic history. I wrote a published thesis about the diplomatic practices immediately following WWII. Who cares? That’s not the point. The point is you love to criticize the ones working with other peoples children while sacrificing time with their own, yet do you know their situations?
Second, “freedom of religion” denotes that you have religion. It’s not freedom FROM religion. Our founders were escaping a tyrannical government that used state sponsored religion as a method of control. Nowhere do I see this being abused in this case.
Third, you seem to be an expert of constitutional law yet you fail to understand a fundamental concept of democracy: majority rule with minority rights. NOT: loudest and most aggravating rule, majority rights. Walk one day beside coach Mariakis and you’ll know that he preaches honesty, truth, respect, and community. These are facets of all religions and faith.
Fourth, quit whining, it makes you look weak.

Andy Marin

August 29th, 2012
12:31 am

@HS Coach – you are wrong. The First Amendment specifically does protect us from Freedom FROM Religion from Government. This includes government employees (including coaches at State Schools). This is especially true in school environments where students are very impressionable and should be expected to be protected from coercion from government employees (including school coaches).

This is not idle opinion, this is the opinion of the Supreme Court of this land – and as such is law.

Thankfully, the majority cannot overrule the Bill of Rights or the Constitution (the minority is expressly protected from the tyranny of the masses), all sorts of bad behavior would exist if so.

Finally, Mariakis is open for criticism. He is breaking the law as per prior Supreme Court rulings and, given the recent opportunity to make amends, is making no positive moves to rectify his illegal behavior.

Please, remember, this is a matter of irrefutable constitutional law that has been ruled on many times before. You must separate your personal desires from what is legal. This is illegal, and for good reason.

[...] Mariakis’ fellow coaches have not been very sympathetic to their peer – at least publicly. One coach told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “I would prefer to [...]

Coaching Intentions

August 29th, 2012
8:33 am

It is disappointing that Truth Seeker does not understand his role as a coach. It is not about teaching kids the game but about using the game to teach concepts like hard work, teamwork, perserverance and those concepts that help them be better people, better workers and better neighbors. This has become the problem with all of athletics and I was a coach for many years. Schools/systems need to do a better job of hiring coaches who take seriously the responsibility they have in helping to mold the next generation instead of just winning. But if you look back at most successful coaches, they were able to instill and model the above characteristics and that is why they were able to produce winners; not just in state championships but in life. But it is not easy for schools, systems or coaches to teach kids when groups like the FFRF have nothing better to do than harass the rest of the country.If there exists a concern in a community, then the community should be able to handle it. FFRF: butt out.

gwinnettnewguy

August 29th, 2012
9:17 am

it would be fair to say that my beef is more with how laws have been interpreted, so studying law is not going to solve my “problem”, but thanks for the suggestion, law school might be fun. Case law is based on decisions of appeals courts and other courts which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents, which is where you guys that are pointing to the law make your comments. This is certainly a valid argument.

My contention is simply that people have influence. A teacher/coach can never be amoral, technically speaking, when it comes to how they lead, teach, or coach. I believe it is an infringement on the rights of the coach and those who agree with him to disallow a church from providing a meal to a football team.

Coaches love boldness don’t they? I believe a true coach who cares about his/her players would supremely respect an athlete coming to them respectfully and asking to be excused from anything related to a religious activity, if that is what they choose. It would be at that point the coach would have to genuinely respect his/her request and not let that influence the athlete’s standing on the team in any way. Is that practical? Maybe not, but just because you are in the majority does not meant that you have to give up every right to the minority.

gwinnettnewguy

August 29th, 2012
9:19 am

*mean (not meant)

CP

August 29th, 2012
12:10 pm

Irregardless of how you want to interpret the first amendment, it is improper for a person with authority over our youth (be it a teacher, coach, principal, guidance counselor) to impose their religious beliefs and voluntarily or involuntarily coerce the student to practice his/her religious rituals. I can understand how innocent this may seem when it is YOUR religion, but picture the coach performing Muslim, Jewish, or Buddhist prayers with the children in his team. What if he shared his atheist beliefs with them? Would that still be ok? Be real people. This is the reason why it is totally inappropriate.

JAB

August 29th, 2012
12:23 pm

The church was always here 1st, then came the State. How can you separate the two?

1bighammer

August 29th, 2012
3:44 pm

@RB …I don’t need a con law class to know that the interpretation is WRONG. Just because judges on a court INTERPRETED it that way does not make it correct.

@Andy Marin…and since the precedent was set YEARS ago…each ruling on Separation of Church and state has been WRONG since.

J Sims, RB, Andy Marin ,CP…how bout ya’ll find me anywhere in the First Amendment a statement that government (or its employees) can never speak of religion. You won’t find it …because oit doesn’t exist.

MartinBaker

August 29th, 2012
5:39 pm

How can you separate the two?

Easy! The 1st amendment does that for us. We are a country of law, not religion.

Andy Marin

August 29th, 2012
6:01 pm

Whether Mariakis supporters believe the law Is right or wrong is moot. You cannot pick which laws to abode by or which to not abide by. This is not a matter for the local community to resolve (let’s face it, they wouldn’t resolve it), this is a non-negotiable violation of constitutional law.

There are a lot of opinions spouted that students can opt out of Mariakis’ religious events. The reality is that teenage boys are under immense peer group pressure and implied coercive pressure from the coach. It is dis-ingenuous to state that players will believe that non-participation in these religious events will not be prejudicial to their athletic career.

Mariakis will lose this case, the question is at what financial cost to the community.

mgdawg

August 29th, 2012
9:28 pm

I am currently working in high school athletics, and have been for a few years now. To me the funniest argument is that they had pre-game meals at a church. So let me get this straight, everyone knows that schools are struggling with money, and likewise their athletics are struggling with money. If a church is offering to buy, cook, and serve pregame meals to a team for free, why are they going to turn that down?

Also, in my experience, the schools I have worked with have had team chaplains, FYI UGA has a team chaplain and last I checked the state gives them money also. The team chaplains would give a pre-game speech, they may read some verses, they may not. The purpose of their meeting isn’t to convert people, they never even mention it in my experience, they talk about morals and how to behave, what to do when you’re winning or losing all the time. I really don’t see how this is breaking any law.

Finally, as far as the camp thing goes, kids are encouraged to go to all kinds of football camps. I wasn’t in the room when this happened, but did he encourage the kid to go to a camp because it was a camp, or because he wanted the kid to learn about God. Who knows?

We don’t have all the facts, so it isn’t right for us to judge. However, I haven’t been told enough to condemn this man. I believe in innocent until proven guilty, and from the little bit I’ve read I am on the innocent side.

ed-words

August 29th, 2012
10:44 pm

The coach knows football much better than the law.

Players and students can pray ON THEIR OWN in many ways.

sideshow billybob

August 30th, 2012
4:31 pm

If Mariakis was a full-blown Muslim doing what he’s been doing, these fools would be howling for his resignation and kissing the FFRF people’s backside.

Highschool 1

September 13th, 2012
4:38 pm

We sent our son to Landmark Christian for a terrific education, but also to make sure that Christ was the centerpoint of his day.

He played football for an incredible coach (Kenny Dallas) and learned a ton about football, be so much more about life.

No regrets.