A Catholic man fired after tweeting his support of the Church’s stance on “gay marriage” will file a complaint with Canada’s human rights commission against his former employer on free speech and religious freedom grounds.
Canadian TV sports announcer Damian Goddard was fired from his position as a freelance announcer on Rogers Sportsnet after sending a message from his personal Twitter account backing another sports figure’s support for marriage between a man and a woman.
William Gale of the law firm Grosman, Grosman & Gale said Goddard’s firing was a violation of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, “two fundamental rights that are to be afforded to every Canadian.”
Gale said Rogers Sportsnet “cemented the impression that (Goddard's) Catholic beliefs are inappropriate and grounds for dismissal,” the Canadian news service QMI Agency reports.
“We also contend that unless it is challenged, this 'termination after a tweet' threatens to set a dangerous precedent for all Canadians in this still-evolving world of social media,” Gale added.
Dave Rashford, Sportsnet's director of communications, said Goddard was fired because “it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization,” Fox News reports. He said Goddard was aware of the “well documented” reasons why he was terminated and Sportsnet will bring forward the facts during any proceedings.
EWTN News contacted Rogers Sportsnet for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.
Goddard has worked as a TV sports broadcaster in Canada for the past 15 years.
He used his personal Twitter account “heydamo” on May 10 to say he “completely and whole-heartedly” supports player agent Todd Reynolds “and his support for the traditional and true meaning of marriage.”
Reynolds had responded critically to National Hockey League player Sean Avery’s support for “gay marriage,” calling the support “misguided.”
“Legal or not, it will always be wrong,” Reynolds said in his tweet, a statement Goddard later backed.
Though Goddard had fewer than 350 subscribers to his public Twitter account on May 10, his comment was picked up by critics who protested to his employer.
After his termination, Goddard used his Twitter feed to ask God to bless both his supporters and his critics.
“It is times like these when I am so thankful for my Roman Catholic faith. I would be COMPLETELY lost without it,” he said on May 11.