The wife of a professional indoor football player has accused the team's management of benching her husband over his religious beliefs.
Troy Vermillion, a wide receiver for the Colorado Ice and upfront Christian, had a disagreement with his coaches over a pornographic-like film that would be played during a bus road trip, which his wife Hilda said has led to his release from the team roster.
In an interview with Concerned Women for America (CWA), Hilda Vermillion said the couple feels that their rights have been violated over the incident, and that her husband's benching is biased.
"We were told [by legal advisers] that sexual harassment laws were broken," explained Hilda in the interview, "and that they have created a hostile work environment. We know that we have rights that have been violated."
CWA has also expressed its concern in saying that his release from the team was against 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited organizations and businesses from discriminating against employee based on their religious beliefs and religious expressions.
The problem that sparked the controversy occurred during a bus trip to an away game for the Colorado Ice. According to Vermillion, the coaches on the team had brought on questionable material, including pornographic magazines. The wide receiver decided not to say anything, however, since it was their decision.
When the squad had decided to put on the uncut version of the movie Wedding Crashers, Vermillion decided to speak up since he would be forced to watch. He disagreed with the nudity in the film, and asked the coach if they could watch something else and had agreed to watch Invincible instead.
Following a break, however, the team ended up starting the Wedding Crashers DVD. The Christian football player, who was sitting in the back of the bus, then called his coach in the front twice by phone confronting him about the movie and what they had agreed on. The coach instead cussed Vermillion out.
The wide receiver then asked if he could get off the bus and catch a ride from another vehicle since they were riding in a caravan. The coach refused, however.
In her interview, the Vermillion's wife also explained that her husband was very sensitive to this situation, because he had been molested as a child by a married couple. They forced him to watch pornographic movies, among worse things, and said to him that if he told anyone something bad would happen to his younger brother, who was four.
Following the road trip, Vermillion was called into his coach's office, who complimented him on his integrity and apologized for the situation. But he also was put on the bench.
"That very day they benched him and he hasn't played since," said Hilda, in the CWA interview. "[But] Troy was absolutely not released for performance issues."
She argued that he was the best receiver on the team at the time, and that he was ranked ninth among the wide receiver in the indoor football league.
The two are optimistic, however, in that they hope it proves to be a positive model for other Christians on the team.
On the web: The interview with Hilda Vermillion.