Deion Sanders Is In The Middle Of A Religion Controversy With Atheist Group Stating 'He's A Coach, Not A Pastor'

Deion Sanders has been the head coach at Colorado for just three months, but already finds himself in the middle of a controversy involving his religion. Specifically, an attention-seeking atheist group is upset that Sanders, a Christian, prays and speaks of his religion around his team.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation - which advocates for atheists, nontheists and clearly doesn't understand the First Amendment - is so upset about Sanders' act of prayer it sent a letter to the University of Colorado.

In the letter dated Jan. 24, the foundation claims that it had been contacted by residents who are concerned about Colorado players who are potentially being pressured to pray during team meetings.

The foundation then called on the university to "ensure that Sanders understands that he has been hired as a football coach and not a pastor." It also asked for Colorado to ensure that Sanders would "not continue to proselytize to his players or subject them to coercive team prayers."

Instead of ignoring the atheist group, the school responded to the letter a week later stating that Sanders underwent some form of training "and came away from it with a better understanding of the University of Colorado’s policies and the requirements of the Establishment Clause."

Christian Group Defends Deion Sanders

First Liberty Institute - a Christian legal group - came to the defense of Sanders in February and made clear the school could be violating Sanders’ rights in relation to the 2022 Supreme Court case – Kennedy v. Bremerton.

"The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that public school employees may engage in religious expression and exercise; therefore, public universities like CU may not target Coach Sanders (or other members of the football staff) for exercising constitutional rights on campus," the letter from First Liberty Institute read, in part.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court sided with former high school football coach Joe Kennedy, who lost his job because of his routine of praying on the field.

Whether the topic be football, coaching, or personal hurdles he's overcome, Sanders mentions his faith and the power of prayer more often than not. It's safe to assume he'll continue to do so despite it ruffling the feathers of an anti-religious group.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

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Mark covers all sports at OutKick while keeping a close eye on the world of professional golf. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before earning his master's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. He somehow survived living in Knoxville despite ‘Rocky Top’ being his least favorite song ever written. Before joining OutKick, he wrote for various outlets including SB Nation, The Spun, and BroBible. Mark was also a writer for the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate in 2016 when the team won the World Series. He's still waiting for his championship ring to arrive. Follow him on Twitter @itismarkharris.