Former Sportsnet on-air host, Damian Goddard is now working for a new branch of the National Organization for Marriage, a US anti-gay group.
The goal of the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is to create a supportive community for those who have been threatened for standing for marriage, to nip the climate of fear being created in the bud, to expose for fair-minded Americans on both sides of the debate the threats being made, to conduct high-quality qualitative and quantitative research documenting the extent of the harm, to develop legislative and community proposal to protect Americans right to engage in the core civil rights: to organize, to vote, to speak, to donate, and to write for marriage.
MarriageADA ‘s first client is a guy named Frank Turek, whose opposition to marriage equality goes beyond casual off the job site objections. (see his 6 part YouTube series: Nothing Gay About It) Turek says he lost leadership seminar contracts with Cisco and Bank of America because his latest book.
Goddard, who worked in Canadian sports broadcasting for 15 of his 20 year career, says he was fired as a weekend sportscaster because of a tweet from his personal account May 10th.
“I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and true meaning of marriage”
New York Rangers enforcer Sean Avery had tweeted about his support for same-sex marriage, and Burlington Ontario Uptown Sports Management’s Todd Reynolds sparked a Twitter debate when he tweeted his opposition to Avery’s position. An hour after Goddard’s tweet, Rogers Sportsnet tweeted,
“Today’s tweet from Damian Goddard does not reflect the views of Rogers Sportsnet.”
His contract was terminated the next day. Rogers Sportsnet statement said, “Mr. Goddard was a freelance contractor and in recent weeks it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization.”
During an appearance on The Michael Coren Show Goddard seems to reinforce the Rogers Sportsnet publicly stated position when he talks about a May 1st conflict in the newsroom (starts at 10:27 “Could it be that you are a right pain the the backside…”) He says he doesn’t know where the Rogers decision came from.
Goddard announced he was planning to file a Human Rights Complaint, and mentioned it again in the above Coren interview, but to date I can’t find one filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Goddards last mention of filing was in a tweet August 17th that “things were moving along on the human rights front.”
The day after the Coren show Goddard tweeted -
Later in the Coren interview Goddard’s lawyer Bill Gale makes an appearance. He believes Goddard was terminated because of the tweet, while defending the fairness and experience of the HRC in employment cases.
Goddard said on Sun News Byline that, “he never stood in some sort of pulpit in the workplace and pounded a bible down people’s throats.” He added that, “he needed to make his stance to at least empower those out there who are feeling a a little bullied by circumstances of this nature of quieting people who have different views.”
I’m puzzled as to why Goddard would take a job with NOM. He might as well tattoo anti-gay extremist on his forehead. NOM is a giant step to the fringe of the US religious right.
I didn’t think the tweet was the cause for termination, back in May or now; Rogers Sportsnet wouldn’t be the first company to have a knee-jerk reaction to an on-air personality’s personal opinion. Every news report on Goddard’s tweet expouses his belief he is a victim of religious discrimination. His opinion has become a common belief in the public realm. An HRC hearing would draw out facts and I’ve wondered when there will be an announcement that Goddard has actually filed his complaint.
Goddard’s job with NOM is cause for a personal re-think, religious discrimination may not be cause, and that perhaps Rogers Sportsnet had more to consider than a tweet. We’ll see.
Update: There is still no word on a whether Damian Goddard has filed a HRC. He has taken the job of spokesperson for NOM.
Update: The CHRT dismissed Goddards complaint, stating, ““The evidence does not support a link between the complainant’s religion and the termination of his employment contract”. Goddard says he ‘will take this fight to the next stage’. (Federal Court of Canada, then Federal Court of Appeal, then Supreme Court of Canada)
Update: Goddard won’t be appealing.