Last week was pretty busy for me, so I wasn't paying attention when a church in Indianapolis made the news after they received a letter from the NFL telling them they would have to cancel their SuperBowl party. Evidently you can't show it to a group on a TV bigger than 55". (Uh oh...I hope they don't ban me from my living room). Also, you can't charge for the gathering. The church in Indy cancelled their plans.
We didn't cancel our party. And all day Friday, the phone was ringing from the local news stations wondering what we were going to do about the SuperBowl party planned for our high school students. They had a half-time band scheduled and would be showing the game on the...uh, well, rather large center screen. (Okay, it's bigger than 55" but there is no way it is bigger than 55 feet. I think). The message was left on the voice mail, "Is your church going to break the law or are you canceling your plans?" Wow. That's pretty black and white.
We were teaching workshops all day on Friday, so we didn't have time to consult attorneys or find out if there even is such a law that exists. It was new information to us and we weren't going to change plans on the basis of a media report. After all, they've been wrong before. (Remember when they said Gore won the elections?)
I called the reporter back at about 5pm on Friday. She asked a few questions, and unfortunately we weren't able to work out anything for her to get video of the big screen (and thus grab the attention of the NFL) or get me to say on TV that we were going to "intentionally break the law." It was a bummer, but life is just way too busy. You can read her final story here.
The next day (Saturday) we learned that the NFL had changed their policy and reissued a statement for churches. I'm guessing the church in Indy (and probably many other churches) were thrilled about scheduling, then canceling, then rescheduling their gatherings. I'm just glad we didn't lose sleep over the frenzy.