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Tennessee high school football players baptized on field after practice

Posted at 7:16 AM, Sep 13, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two Springfield High School football players were baptized on the football field following an August practice, with coaches and players alike supporting the players and celebrating their decision.

"Great day for two young men being baptized in front of our team and our field. Better than winning any game or any trophy," a Springfield High School coach tweeted following the ceremony.

One of the players baptized retweeted the coach, saying, "I wouldn't want it any other way."

"What a blessing it was to baptize these young men today in front of their football brothers."," the team's character coach and a minister at a nearby church said.

But this week, questions emerged about the event.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) posted that coaches need to stop promoting and endorsing religion to students, citing the First Amendment — the separation of church and state

"This is especially problematic in the context of athletics, given the coercive pressure players feel to conform to coaches' expectations so as not to disappoint coaches or hurt their standing on the team," Chris Line, a staff attorney for FFRF said.

Robertson County Schools said they reviewed the baptism and found that neither the school nor school personnel had violated any policies or laws.

"The activities that occurred on or about Aug. 7, were student-initiated, student-led, and occurred after the practice session had ended, and after school hours. All participation was voluntary with no requirement for attendance either stated or implied," the school said in a statement.

As of Thursday, the school had received a few complaints, but only after the Freedom from Religion Foundation raised concerns.

Springfield High School coaches did not respond to a request for comment.

This story was originally published by Jesse Knutson on WTVF in Nashville.