Pro-marriage sportscaster’s complaint dismissed by Canadian Human Rights Commission
TORONTO, April 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nearly two years after sportscaster Damian Goddard was fired by Rogers Communications, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed his complaint in which he alleged that he was fired because he had publicly voiced support for the traditional definition of marriage.
On May 10, 2011, the former Connected star tweeted that he “completely and wholeheartedly” supports “the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.” Rogers immediately distanced themselves from the tweet, and then fired him within 24 hours.
In June 2011, Goddard, a devout Roman Catholic, filed a human rights complaint alleging religious discrimination.
But he received a letter from the Commission on April 15th advising him that they had dismissed the complaint. “The evidence does not support a link between the complainant's religion and the termination of his employment contract,” they wrote.
Despite the setback, Goddard has vowed to press on. “One day, I was a sports anchor in excellent standing with my employers at Rogers Communications Inc., and the next day following a tweet defending marriage, I was fired from my job,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Those are the facts. And I look forward to taking this fight to the next stage.”
Goddard’s May 10th tweet was offered in support of Burlington hockey agent Todd Reynolds, who was in the news that week after he criticized then-NHL player Sean Avery for shooting a TV ad backing gay “marriage.”
Rogers Communications has maintained throughout the process that Goddard’s tweet had nothing to do with his firing, but they have not publicly specified the reasons for his dismissal.
“Mr. Goddard was a freelance contractor and in recent weeks it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization,” Sportsnet spokesman Dave Rashford said on May 12th, 2011.
Rashford later said that Goddard was “aware of the reasons” for his termination, insisting they were “well documented,” but declined to specify them because of a policy against discussing personnel issues in the media.
But Goddard maintains that Rogers had given him a “ringing endorsement” of his performance merely a week before the incident.
“Mere hours after I had tweeted in defense of marriage on May 10th, I was called in to work for a meeting,” he told LifeSiteNews in June 2011. “While I was unable to make it in for the meeting, as I was looking after my 4 and 2 year old kids, I was promptly terminated from my position as a Rogers Sportsnet anchor 24 hours after my initial tweet.”
Goddard warns that his termination could act as a dangerous precedent for other pro-family Canadians engaging the public through social media, and says he hoped his case would help reinvigorate the battle against same-sex “marriage” in Canada.
On that issue, “there’s a complacency in this country that needs to be shaken,” he said in November 2011.
Goddard has since joined forces with the U.S.-based Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, a project of the National Organization for Marriage dedicated to supporting pro-family citizens who face threats for expressing their views.
LifeSiteNews.com contacted Rogers Communications for comment but did not hear back by press time.