The National Football League recently sent out a reissued policy regarding churches showing the Super Bowl among their congregations.
In the notice, the league reemphasized its need to follow copyright laws, but that they would, in essence, be more flexible about the manner in which churches air the game as long as they do not charge an admission fee. The reissued statement comes after a large wave of offended Christians circulated their opinions throughout the internet and through email.
After NFL officials sent an overnight FedEx to stop Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis from holding its Super Bowl viewing party, indignant Christians immediately voiced their opinions.
In forums, blogs, and other public flatforms, Christians vented their frustrations over the NFLs sanctions towards the church, largely assuming that the NFL did it to keep their Nielson rankings up which do not account for mass viewings.
Many others directly sent emails and letters to the NFL, expressing their concern and discontent.
Much of the offense expressed by the people related to the fact that the NFL was turning down a Christian alternative to the game.
"It just frustrates me that most of the places where crowds are going to gather to watch this game are going to be places that are filled with alcohol and other things that are inappropriate for children," commented John D. Newland, pastor of Fall Creek, to the Indianapolis Star. "We tried to provide an alternative to that and were shut down."
The NFL still stands by its initial statement concerning copyright laws. The representatives made sure to emphasize certain clauses concerning the restrictions, however.
They highlighted the homestyle exemption which allows viewings that would normally violate the law as noninfringing. In the exemption, a performance of a televised game will be excused if such performance is on a single receiving apparatus of a kind commonly used in private homes. This is provided that the hosts do not charge a fee or transmit it as a public event.
Considering that big-screen televisions and even projection units are now common in homes, it provides a mean for churches to show the games again.
Still, many churches will not take the risk of showing the game fearing that their meeting would be considered public, opening the door for copyright infringement.
For those churches that will continue to air the game as a gathering, they will be careful in the manner in which they do so.
The NFL is making attempts to be flexible without violating national regulations.
The Super Bowl will air tomorrow, Sunday, to millions of viewers around the globe.