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Canadian Sports Anchor Damian Goddard Fired for Tweet in Support of Anti-Gay Hockey Agency


Canadian broadcaster Sportsnet has fired its host Damian Goddard following a tweet in which he expressed support for "the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage."


Goddard's tweet was in response to a tweet from Uptown Sports Management, a major hockey agency, in which it condemned New York Ranger Sean Avery for his support of the campaign to pass marriage equality in New York.

The Toronto Star reports:

Attempting to skip over the controversy, Sportsnet suggested in a release that their problems with Goddard did not start with his decision to share his political views online.

“Mr. Goddard was a freelance contractor and in recent weeks it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization,” the sports giant’s communications director, Dave Rashford, said in a short statement.

Goddard hosted the Sportsnet show Connected.

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  1. Ratbastard, that's my point. First Amendment extends to STATE interference, not as a protection of the ability to say assholey things WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE--consequences such as libel, or termination because said assholey conduct took place in the workplace.

    You may say whatever you wish, but you may be sued, you may be fired, so watch what you say because it is NOT a First Amendment issue. What's so hard to understand?

    Posted by: Jeff Kurtti | May 11, 2011 10:50:34 PM

  2. ``Canada does legally restrict speech to an extent the U.S. does not...``

    "Ratbastard: And the U.S. also restricts free speech to an extent that Canada does not.

    In Canada, you cannot put an ad in the paper suggesting you want an innocent minority group killed. You also cannot air a news show which invents lies to slander others without risking losing the broadcast license. (The information in news shows in Canada which are not parodies has to be TRUE, not edited to intentionally create false impressions.)

    However, in the US, FoxNews can intentionally mislead viewers with impunity (Remember the completely false Acorn scandal they invented with a fake pimp and prostitute, or the government official whose comments were edited to create the false impression that she had said she would not help white farmers.)
    But the Broadcast decency Enforcement Act signed by George W. Bush in 2005 threatens fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars for uttering in passing many common and relatively innocuous words that might offend a few crotchety conservatives.

    Those network-protecting time-delays that have made actual live TV and radio broadcasts a thing of the past in the US are completely unnecessary in Canada, since the bar that has to be crossed is not one that a responsible human being would ever cross, anyway.

    Many (I`d venture to guess most) Americans say things on a regular basis that would be fineable offenses if said on US broadcast TV. In Canada, those words are not an issue that the government considers any of its business.

    I know which policy seems more sane and reasonable to me.

    But, back to the case in this article: ``Canada`` did not censor him in any way. His EMPLOYER wasn`t satisfied with him. And considering his actions, that should be no wonder.

    Posted by: GregV | May 12, 2011 12:48:19 AM

  3. Canada has a constiutional right to free speech in Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    The limitations on freedom of expression are different from the U.S., including hate speech. I doubt any human rights tribunal would consider what he or the agent said to be hate speech, a term which is still evolving in its practical application.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | May 12, 2011 1:16:46 AM

  4. The most highly rated reader comments on the linked Toronto Star article support the Right to Say Stupid Things and Remain Employed! I wonder if they would be as supportive if the announcer had tweeted how great it was to be a KKK member and how much more superior he was to Canadians of color...He is essentially saying that the 100,000+ gay and lesbian married Canadians are not "real" marriages (multiply by 10 to get U.S. population equivalent).

    Posted by: Hue-Man | May 12, 2011 1:32:49 AM

  5. Who knew the American South extended so far north? Flyovers, eh? What a hoser.

    Posted by: Mark | May 12, 2011 2:33:21 AM

  6. The company that currently owns Sportsnet also owned a hardcore gay porn channel called HARDTV. There are powerful gays behind the scene in this story.

    Posted by: ron | May 12, 2011 6:16:07 AM

  7. @TampaZeke, I am quite aware this is in Canada (as I am). Contrary to your statement, Canada does have a constitutional right to free speech (see section 2 (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (part of the Canadian Constitution) which states under "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms" ... "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication". I did not saw any where in my post that he should not be challenged on what he said nor that he should suffer the consequences, but he did have a right to say it.

    Posted by: Jim | May 12, 2011 7:53:21 AM

  8. Yes, he is free to speak his mind. No one has arrested him. However, Sportsnet is also free to fire him at will.

    Posted by: Bastian | May 12, 2011 8:55:17 AM

  9. You don't tweet not to be read. I like my sports and newscasters to remain purveyors of facts, figures, etc, without injecting their personal opinions, beliefs. Just the facts m'am. But not being a tweeter, I'm not sure about what's right or wrong. It seems tweets are meant to be followed and have a more personal nature. That said, he was tweeting from the broadcasters source, and should represent the company, not his own self. I think he failed to make the distinction. Or something. But I would not want to watch his broadcasts knowing he is against me getting married, or considers me less deserving than him of rights. It's weird, the right of free speech saying another person doesn't deserve a right.

    Posted by: kodiak | May 12, 2011 9:25:30 AM

  10. This is no different than Neanderthal broadcasters who have been fired for using the "n" word, or calling women "ho's" or attacking any minority group. If you speak for my company and you express bigoted views, you are fired.

    Want free speech? Stand in the unemployment line and spout anything you want.

    Posted by: wimsy | May 12, 2011 9:39:22 AM

  11. @James in Toronto,

    What about the word 'Free' don't you comprehend? What about the phrase 'Fre Speech' don't you comprehend, James. I'm assuming you're an adult. Get a backbone,buddy.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 12, 2011 10:29:15 AM

  12. @Jeff Kurtti,

    He didn't say or do anything that constitutes libel. Libel must be irected at a specifically named individual [not a group] and in the U.S., the laws regardeding libel are much looser pertaining to 'public' personalities [politicians, so-called entertainment stars, etc.,]

    He simply expressed his opionion against same sex marriage. That's not libel... LOL

    However, presumably his employer has a legal right to terminate his contract,which was probablt up for renewal. He also used a business oriented twitter page, which I'm sure his employer didn't appreciate.

    Businesses aren't necessarily pro-gay or even PC, they simply don't want to deal with hassle of protests, possible civil suits, etc., so they play the game. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.



    You buddy are all over the map.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 12, 2011 10:38:46 AM

  13. @WIMSY,

    What about when 'minorities' say 'mean' things about, say, so-called white people or heterosexuals? They get a pass? These forums are full of posters saying 'mean' things all the time. 'Radical' and not so 'radical' minority individuals and organizations say 'mean' infammatory things all the time.

    Some posters here are funny. You often say nasty, vindictive, 'mean' things, then p*ss&moan when anyone says stuff you don't like. Grow up.


    The U.S. is a Nanny State to a large degree.

    Canada is an even bigger Nanny State. Canada is one of the western world's premier Nanny States. The way 'radical' so-call progressives [ideological leftists] have a grip on the average Canadian is they managed early on the pass legislation like universal healthcare [a HUGE Sacred Cow in Canada; for many Canadians this defines them] and other socialist entitlement programs. Canadian politicians were able to do these things because they outsourced Canada's sovereignty [and defense] to the U.S. and international agencies. Canada in 2011 has indeed universal healthcare [but it's far from free or particularly good]. And it's incapable of defending it's sovereignty and territory. It's a trade-off they made back in the 60s. Now, the average Canadian is terrified at the thought they might have to take on more responsibility for things like their heathcare. Add to this Canadian politicians have used anti-U.S. rhetoric for a long time [playing on Canadians sense or irritation and dare I say inferiority ( DISCLAIMER: I don't thing Canadians are inferior) in regards to their much bigger and more powerful neighbor, whom they rely so much on] as a way of whipping up nationalism and political power for themselves. Now, just the threat of change, even a little tweaking of the system, is enough to freak a lot of Canadians out. But along with the social welfare entitlements like universal healthcare are attached things like Human Rights Tribunals and gay marriage. Many Canadians will look the other way and accept the whole package as long as they get their universal healthcare, etc., This is repeated in other countries also.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 12, 2011 11:00:54 AM

  14. Wow. My insinuation that classy, dignified behavior may yet have a place in public discourse seems to offended many of you, so let me ask you all this question: What exactly does his firing accomplish? What does this prove and what does it show our opposition?

    Sure, it shows that Sportsnet has a marked interest in retaining it's homosexual viewers, but what does it say about US? It says that instead of trying to change public opinion, we have resorted to merely forcing it. Is that not the same thing they have been doing to us for time immemorial, threatening anyone who dares oppose them with social ostracization and institutionalized shunning? Do you think this changed Mr. Goddard's opinion of us? Do you think this changed the opinions of his friends and family, or do you think that this might only have the effect of reinforcing their hate, in essence creating even larger and more dedicated enemies for ourselves?

    Posted by: Tim | May 12, 2011 11:05:32 AM

  15. (continued from above)
    There are those that may argue that this is all good riddance. Why should we hold ourselves up to a higher standard of behavior when they quite obviously do not do so themselves? Why should we not fight fire with fire? Because "fighting fire with fire" only feeds the fire. It's simple logic. It's important to remember that these people are not expressing intellectually formed opinions; they are only expressing emotional reactions to their fantasy of life being threatened. It would do us well to not simply react with more emotion and demand that everyone everywhere issue insincere public apologies and fire all employees who don't make us feel safe. It's childish behavior and if we cannot rise above that nonsense, what have we truly earned for ourselves? We have earned NO MORE than they have.

    It seems to me that the knee-jerk reaction many of you had to my "classy" comment is rooted in a deep-seeded fear of self reflection and the moderation of one's behavior. This is no surprise; the gay community has become infamous as of late for intentionally avoiding such things. If you read any gay news blog on the internet, you get the idea that the gay community is absolutely without it's own faults and that the only problem we face is other people's opinions. The only cause we need get behind, apparently, is public outrage over someone or another's remarks and demanding that everyone involved be punished as we see fit. This doesn't change anyone's opinion of us and I realize that many of you don't care about such things, but consider this: Every single social and political gain we make using this tactic is temporal. It merely engages us in an eternal game of tug o' war with the opposing side. It's all temporal and depends on whichever political party is in power at that given moment. Democrats are in charge - we win. Republicans in charge - we lose. This cycle, for those who have no sense of history, has repeated itself MANY times and will only continue to do so if we cannot come up with a better game plan. We DO NEED to try and change public opinion of us. I know this is difficult for many of you to accept because it requires that we focus on fixing the problems within our own community and you seem to be of the opinion that ANY admission whatsoever of internal problems in the community will just add fuel to the anti-gay fire. That, I would argue, is no good reason to avoid self-improvement. Any loss that we suffer due to that admittance will be soon overshadowed by the gains we will receive by actively trying to improve ourselves and our public image.

    We NEED to address the problems in our community. They are real, they are poisonous and they are not worth holding on to simply out of fear for what 'the others' might think.

    There is a disturbingly high rate of infidelity within gay relationships.
    There is a disturbingly high rate of substance abuse amongst gay males.
    There is a disturbingly high rate of irresponsible, unprotected sexual behavior amongst gay males that furthers the spread of HIV and AIDS. There is a disturbingly high rate of domestic abuse within many lesbian relationships.There is a disturbing LACK of self-esteem and self-worth in the gay community that results in a disturbingly high rate of depression and suicide.There is a disturbingly high rate of racism in the gay community.

    We need to focus on these problems to make our community healthier for ourselves and others. I am not saying that this is ALL the gay community consists of, but until we address these problems they will continue to plague us.

    Posted by: Tim | May 12, 2011 11:06:37 AM

  16. Ratbastard: Exactly as I said. People say things at their peril of social ostracism, libel lawsuit, or professional termination, there is no protection for them in the First Amendment other than "Congress shall make no law." What's so hard to understand?

    Posted by: Jeff Kurtti | May 12, 2011 12:18:04 PM

  17. ``What about the word 'Free' don't you comprehend?``

    "Ratbastard: He`s free to say exactly what he said and Rogers Sportsnet is free to choose not to renew his contract. I don`t understand what it is that you would like changed in the law to make more freedom.
    The company said that over the weeks they had been dissatisfied in general with his work as a freelance contractor.
    Do you want the government to step in (as ``nanny``) and force this private company to offer him a permanent contract? Is that the kind of government interference that makes you feel more ``free?``

    Posted by: GregV | May 12, 2011 12:29:17 PM

  18. ``What exactly does his firing accomplish?``

    Tim: When people realize when others are appalled by what they say, they often start to examine and re-evaluate their own views. George Wallace, for example, went from yelling `Segregation forever!`` to eventually apologizing.

    ``There is a disturbingly high rate of infidelity within gay relationships...There is a disturbingly high rate of racism in the gay community.``

    Tim: Some of the things you named (not all of which I quoted) I agree need to be worked on (but often the key to that is working on ending anti-gay attitudes that are at their source).

    I don`t know how much infidelity there is in gay relationships. The Netherlands have had equal marriage long enough now for statistics to come out showing that male-male marriages have been staying together longer than male-female marriages.
    And for every gay man who asks his partner for permission to fool around on the side, there are surely fifty Newt Gingriches who are sneaking around and cheating, breaking their vows and then dumping their wives.
    I don`t know that infidelity is any worse among gay people. Of course it exists in EVERY community. But doesn`t that just make it a human problem?

    Racism? Well, every shread of evidence I see suggests that there is a lot less racism in the gay community than in the larger society.
    One of many examples: Same-sex relationships have quadruple the likelihood of opposite-sex relationships of being between people of different races.
    I`m in such a relationship. Have we encountered racism? Yes, occasionally. And every example has come at us from homophobes (I find that those brands of bigotry tend to go hand-in-hand).
    But have we ever encountered in-person racism from anyone in the gay community (and don`t point me at some anonymous troll on the internet who could just as well be NOM`s or FOTF`s staff planting turds on blogs): No, not one time, ever.
    That doesn`t mean it will never happen, because racism exists in every community. But if, say, 24% of straight people could be classified as racists and 6% of gay people could be classified the same, would it make any sense to say that this is ``a problem in the gay community?`` Only in the sense that it exists, but otherwise that kind of wording could tend to give a misleading impression.

    Posted by: GregV | May 12, 2011 1:10:05 PM

  19. For those who think that Canada does not have a constitutional right to free speech ... may I please point out that the Canadian Charter of Rights (our constitution) does in fact award Canadians with the right to free expression ... which includes speech. Nonetheless, it is not a Charter issue, it is a social issue ... and I'm glad they fired him ... whatever the reason!

    Posted by: Stuart in Vancouver | May 12, 2011 4:44:24 PM

  20. "What exactly does his firing accomplish? What does this prove and what does it show our opposition?"

    Once again, we didn't fire him. Sportsnet did. Their business choice, one they are entitled to make.

    It shows our opposition that if you make bigoted and false statements (gay couples marrying is not TRUE marriage, for instance) on a public forum you may pay consequences for your ignorance. If he'd said that black people or immigrants or straight white Christians should not be allowed to marry, he would have been equally fired. He can say whatever he wants, but his employer doesn't have to put up with it when his comments could be read as representing them.

    His firing is not a referendum on the gay community. So I'm not sure why you turned his clearly classless statement into a diatribe against gay people. Letting people get away with ignorance is neither classy nor dignified.

    We don't have to prove ourselves to homophobes, particularly in Canada, where gay people are equal under the law. The homophobes are the ones who need to defend their harmful behaviors to society, not us, Tim.

    Those of us with self-respect have no problem looking ourselves in the mirror.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 12, 2011 5:58:50 PM

  21. Ratbastard, this is off topic, but as to this idea that Canada has "outsourced" its defence to the US: If Canada and the US were enemies and the USSR had decided to invade Canada during the Cold War (what? over the North Pole? as if) then the US would've counter-invaded to keep the Ruskies from being next door anyway. You should THANK your lucky stars to have such a cooperative neighbour. Would you rather have a fractured, guerrilla-war state next store spilling violence over into your quaint northern suburbs? Please. I'm so tired of that argument-- you sound like Anne Coulter. Sure Rat/Anne, invade us, and see what it'd be like to have 200 years of Guerilla warfare in your midst with people who would be best in the world at blending in with you.

    Anyhow, Sean Avery is awesome.

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | May 12, 2011 11:32:25 PM

  22. Not so tolerant after all. Agree with Moses and Jesus, get fired. What a wonderful world.

    Posted by: Joseph Dooley | May 14, 2011 9:56:04 PM

  23. People speak of tolerance. But once you speak agaisnt gay issue, watch out. You'll get fired... crazy!!!!!

    Posted by: Camelot | Jun 27, 2011 1:36:15 AM

  24. According to this site: , Mr. Goddard was voicing a personal opinion on a Twitter account that was his own and was not affiliated in any way to his employer.

    I am a gay man fighting the fight in Maine, but I do think that it is unwise to go after people who express ideas that we don't agree with. If they are acting as representatives of a company or organization, that's one thing, but as individuals who have a right to their opinion, then no. Based on what I have read on this, I don't think Mr. Goddard should have been fired.

    And, of course, this sort of witch-hunt plays right into NOM's hands, as we see in Mr. Brown's latest email blast.

    Posted by: Dave in Maine | Nov 15, 2011 3:56:26 PM

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