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Blog Entry

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

Posted on: February 7, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 4:53 pm
 

Posted by Matt Moore

Careful, ladies and gentlemen. This gets sticky. Sticky icky icky. Please watch your step, both in the post, and in the comments. 

The New Orleans Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder are two franchises that hold a public prayer before each game. They are the only two teams that observe such a practice. The prayer is evidently open to different representatives from the religious community. A Jewish rabbi has provided the opening prayer several times, but, as to be expected, the prayer is usually led by a representative of the Christian faith. It lasts a few minutes and then the Hornets get on to the rest of their holy procedures, like the Honey Bees dancing or fireworks or David West screaming expletives in question to why he wasn't fouled. 

The question of public prayer is one that is debated daily in this country and has been for decades. It's also got very little to do with an NBA blog. Except for something Hornets blog Hornets Hype found and shared in a post from a particularly atheist author:
As such, (the NBA's) non-discrimination policy reads:

Equal employment opportunity is a fundamental principle at the NBA. Accordingly, the NBA’s EEO Policy provides that all employment decisions will be based on merit and valid job qualifications and will be made without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, alienage or citizenship status, ancestry, marital status, creed, genetic predisposition or carrier status, sexual orientation, veteran status, familial status, or any or status or characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

... So how is this relevant to the Hornets? Because the NBA owns the Hornets. Therefore, every single Hornets employee is an NBA employee.

For Christians whose beliefs are in-line with the pre-game prayer, it is an innocuous blessing. For those of opposing beliefs, it may be less so. And for those that believe in no higher power, ... the entire thing is a travesty. The point is not which side is “right.” The point is, if it is opposed by as many as a quarter of the people who care, it should be done away with, regardless of NBA rules. Why stir such strong sentiments when they are ultimately irrelevant to the product produced by the NBA?

Regardless, the NBA’s own anti-discrimination policy forbids the pre-game prayer. Similarly, if my private, non-religious employer decided to start the work day with a prayer, there is no doubt that it would violate the tenets of the EEO Act. It is harassment.
via Hornets Pre-Game Prayer Violates NBA Rules and Good Sense | Hornets Hype.

Now mixed in with that above quotes are some incendiary opinions about religion, which again, we'd like to stay as far away from as possible in an NBA blog. But his point regarding the policy brings up an interesting, albeit touchy subject. Now, the EEO does act in regards to hiring practices,and as such, as the Hornets are a private company, it's difficult to argue that the pre-game prayer affects their hiring of anyone in regards to their religion. But the practice of such a pre-game prayer does speak to the relationship between the team and the NBA. 

The NBA owns the team at this moment in time, and the NBA would likely not submit to such a practice in its own offices.  By carrying out this practice, a business which the NBA owns and operates is conducting a pre-game prayer that is always carried out by a religious official. That makes for some complicated relationships there. 

This particular situation isn't going to change anyone's mind. After all, no one's going to go from believing prayer is good and right, or at least not harmful, to thinking it shouldn't be allowed, and certainly not vice-versa. But the question remains. 

What's the NBA's policy on pre-game prayer? 

(For more on this subject, check out Hornets 24-7's post on it by Joe Gerrity.)
Comments

Since: May 26, 2012
Posted on: May 26, 2012 1:47 pm
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

Sorry, a little late to this news story, I appreciate it being addressed.

I am an atheist so at the games I often just sit during the "invocation"...lately I decided to just stand...as in "when in Rome...", but if they want to allow  or insist these prayers then they should be inclusive...allow an Islamic invocation, or Jewish one...yeah good luck for that living in Oklahoma huh?...

Up with THUNDER...down with superstititions.

PEACE



Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:37 pm
 

The MOST High

May God be exalted and glorified!




Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:15 am
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

Interesting stuff. I don't see anything wrong with prayer before a game. Many people get great comfort from prayer both public and private. This is their freedom as well as anyone who does not pray. I do not like the idea of the freedom to pray being taken away because people who do not pray are offended. That seems a little "oxymoron" to me. Let freedom ring! In prayer or not it is our freedom as citizens of the United States.

StopnPop pretty harsh words.... chillout relax watch a game




Since: Oct 16, 2010
Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:06 am
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

STOPnPOP... I feel sorry for you



Since: Oct 16, 2010
Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:03 am
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

This is ridiculas. This is a good thing. So all a sudden it's a bad thing to pray? While Gaga and them do the things they do and support the things they support? It doesn't seem like it should matter if prayer is a terrible thing in the eyes of some, It has been a tradition for years and it actually has a meaning and emphasis behind it. There isn't a reason those who don't believe in that sort of thing should be offended by it either.



Since: Feb 7, 2011
Posted on: February 7, 2011 9:23 pm
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

I'm not going to argue whether God is real or not because it's always a waste of breath
but how narcissistic is it to think that a magical man in the sky cares about a basketball
game?  Of course it should be against policy because if you happen to be a player that
doesn't believe in fairy tales you wouldn't be able to excuse yourself for fear of being
ostracized by your teammates.



Since: Nov 28, 2010
Posted on: February 7, 2011 9:13 pm
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

I COULDN'T HELP BUT RESPOND TO THIS ARTICLE.  THIS WAS TOO EASY.  AS EVERYONE KNOWS THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY IN THE N.B.A.  IF THERE WAS SUCH A POLICY THEN THERE WOULD BE A FEW WOMEN PLAYING IN THE LEAGUE SINCE WE ALL KNOW THERE ARE A FEW WOMEN WHO CAN PLAY WITH THE MEN.  THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE  ASKS "WHY STIR SUCH STRONG SENTIMENTS WHEN THEY ARE ULTIMATELY IRRELEVENT TO THE PRODUCT PRODUCED BY THE N.B.A.?"  HE OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T REALIZE THAT JESUS CHRIST CREATED THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION!  I CAN  POINT OUT MANY MORE ERRORS IN THIS ARTICLE BUT SINCE MY TIME IS VERY VALUABLE LET ME POINT OUT JUST ONE MORE.  WHO IS THE "WE" IN THE STATEMENT- "WE'D LIKE TO STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM RELIGION AS POSSIBLE IN AN N.B.A. BLOG?"  "WE" WOULD?  NOT A CHANCE!  AS I STATED BEFORE..... THE REASON THE N.B.A. EVEN EXISTS IS, ONCE AGAIN, BECAUSE JESUS CHIRST CREATED IT!  ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS THE N.B.A. IS CURRENTLY DOING IS SHOWING EXCERPTS OF N.B.A. BALLPLAYERS WHO CARE FOR THEIR COMMUNITY.  YOU KNOW WHY THEY CARE?  THAT'S RIGHT..... BECAUSE CHRIST HIMSELF HAS TOUCHED THESE BALLPLAYERS.  YES.... I KNOW THEY ARE ALSO DOING IT BECAUSE THEY ARE GETTING PAID AND THAT IS PROBABLY PART OF THEIR CONTRACT BUT PLEASE DON'T OMIT JESUS CHRIST FROM ALL OF THIS........  HE HASN'T OMITTED YOU.     &
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Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: February 7, 2011 7:32 pm
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

This is why religion is the major cause of deaths, strife, and problems in the world. This has gone on since the start of organized civilization. Does it really matter if someone's beliefs differ from yours. The big problem seems to be is that the religious beliefs differ from person to person, and those with other beliefs, don't appreciate being forced fed the beliefs of others, causing problems from the NBA to the Middle East. I always goof on the players who thank God on their team's win as God had it in for the opponent. Maybe God had a wager and just wanted to cash in. I just wish we all could get along and treat other people like we want to be treated, the world would be a better place.



Since: Feb 7, 2011
Posted on: February 7, 2011 6:53 pm
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

It shouldn't be. They are just asking God for help. There is nothing wrong with that. It shoudn't be against the rules. Don't you ever ask God for help?




Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: February 7, 2011 6:39 pm
 

Is Hornets' opening prayer against NBA policy?

I'm as Agnostic as they get - not necessarily an Atheist, but I really don't think closing my eyes and mumbling stuff is going to change anything even if there is a higher power out there.

Having said that though - what's the big deal here? I don't understand the logistics of this team prayer thing. Is this done in the locker room or on the court? Is it like they just get together and bow their heads and say thanks and please let me get a quadruple double tonight, or is somebody giving them communion? Why can't it just be optional for anyone who wants to participate?



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