First term US Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC) is stepping out to tackle the really important issues. This story is from the Asheville NC Citizen-Times
Shuler pushing for Super Sunday television viewing in churches
February 1, 2008 1:47 pm
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, a former NFL quarterback, is pushing for churches to be allowed to show the Super Bowl on large-screen televisions as a fellowship event.
Shuler sent a letter today to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell expressing disappointment that churches can't show the game on large screen televisions as a fellowship event.
“It makes no sense to me that churches would be prevented from providing a safe, friendly, and alcohol-free environment for fans to watch the Super Bowl,” Shuler said in a press release. “As a former player and an active church member, I have participated in these fellowship events and understand their value.”
Current federal copyright law is the reason churches cannot show the Super Bowl, or other event, on a screen larger than 55 inches, measured diagonally, according to Shuler's office.
In his letter, Shuler said he wants to work with Commissioner Goodell and the NFL to exempt churches and other places of worship from the screen size rules, as long as no admission fee is charged.
“Football is America’s game because, whether it is high school, college, or professional, there is a deeply rooted sense of community. From Friday night to Sunday afternoon families and friends gather together to cheer for their favorite teams, and churches should be able to offer their facilities to the community as a gathering place,” Shuler said in his letter.
Shuler was a Heisman Trophy runner-up at Tennessee before playing three seasons with the Washington Redskins and one with the New Orleans Saints. A foot injury ended his career in 1997.
Shuler's full letter is below:
February 1, 2008
Mr. Roger Goodell
National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
I was disappointed this morning to read that copyright laws are preventing churches from showing the National Football League’s Super Bowl on large television screens as fellowship events.
As a former player and an active church member, I have participated in several of these fellowship events. I know that they offer a safe and friendly environment for families and friends to gather and enjoy the game.
Football is America’s game because, whether it is high school, college, or professional, there is a deeply rooted sense of community. From Friday night to Sunday afternoon families and friends gather together to cheer for their favorite teams, and churches should be able to offer their facilities to the community as a gathering place.
It is my understanding that the wording of current copyright law is the reason that spiritual communities are being prevented from coming together to enjoy your league’s biggest game on large screens. It is my belief that churches should be exempted from all these requirements, as long as no admission fee is charged.
I look forward to working with you to address the laws and regulations that are causing this unfortunate situation.
Member of Congress
As a rule, I'd support anybody who challenges the NFL's unrelenting greed. While I understand the copyright argument, this restriction might be pushing the issue.
On the other hand, I love the image of a bunch of evangelicals gathered together to watch ads for beer, salty snacks, and erectile dysfunction remedies.