The War on Chick-fil-A, College Football Edition

HuffPo piece calls for end of Chick-fil-A Bowl Game, portrays company as oppressive.

The war against Chick-fil-A, whose president dared to support traditional marriage, continues. This time, the battlefield is college football – specifically, Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of two college bowl games. editor Cyd Ziegler took to Huffington Post on August 20 with a piece titled, “Stop Chick-fil-A from Forcing College Football Players to Wear Their Logo,” which advocated the end of Chick-fil-A sponsorship of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Ziegler called the Chick-fil-A logo a symbol of oppression and legalized discrimination. “When Chick-fil-A's COO Dan Cathy said his company opposes the very relationships that define a growing population of our society and admitted to spending millions of dollars to fight the legalization of said relationships, the symbolism of Chick-fil-A shifted dramatically for some to one of oppression, inequality, and legalized discrimination.”

In other words, to gays and their supporters in the media, Chick-fil-A – and millennia of understanding about the nature of marriage – is now evil.

Ziegler painted a picture of oppression against gays caused by the specter of intolerant bigotry: “This Labor Day weekend, college football players from the University of Tennessee, North Carolina State, Auburn University, and Clemson University will put on their jerseys and kick off their 2012 season. They'll be filled with excitement, ready to hit the gridiron. Of the 300 or so athletes, at least one of them will be gay. Most likely, he'll be closeted. Maybe a few teammates know about him, a couple of close friends. But if he has NFL-caliber dreams, like so many of them, he'll be struggling deep in the closet. His life will be defined in part by this secret he feels forced to keep.”

The claim that of one of the 300 athletes participating in the bowl game being gay is speculative at best. Statistically, it is likely – around 4 percent, according to the Williams Institute. But there is no way to know for sure.

Second, no one forces any gay athlete to stay “in the closet” – actors, journalists, singers, and even athletes have come out without incident or violence. (For that matter, would straight athletes who don’t publicly make known their sexual orientation be considered to be “in the closet” about their sexual orientation?)

Never mind the obvious fact that that opposing gay marriage is not the same thing as opposing homosexuals. One can be pro-traditional marriage without discriminating against homosexuals or calling for their persecution; marriage between any two people is not a right.

But Ziegler wasn’t finished: “On that day,” Ziegler’s hypothetical oppressed player “will become a walking billboard for a symbol of his own oppression. As ESPN broadcasts the game, the nation will watch this player glorify the very words of a man who blames him for "inviting God's judgment." It's an image that will live branded in his head for years to come.”

(Or just maybe, he doesn’t define his entire being by his sexual preference. Maybe he’d rather play football than make a political statement. Maybe – being a football player and therefore not a delicate flower – he realizes that he can’t have the universe ordered to his complete satisfaction. In short, maybe he’s not a liberal – nah, too much to hope for.)

Again, the lazy equation of opposition to gay marriage with opposition to homosexuals is clearly evident. Advocating gay marriage and being homosexual are clearly not the same thing – every gay person does not necessarily support gay marriage.

Ziegler proposed that the Chick-fil-A logo be removed from players’ jerseys to “reduce the impact of the Chick-fil-A logo’s symbolism” if Chick-fil-A were not forced out of the bowl game. Failing that, Ziegler devised a four part solution: 1) the ACC and SEC should refuse to allow schools to participate in the bowl game, 2) ESPN should refuse to cover the game, 3) the NCAA should stop financing the game, 4) college football commissioners should not accept future Chick-fil-A’s bids to sponsor bowl games.

The war on Chick-fil-A is being stoked by individuals seeking to stifle any opposition to gay marriage. Rich Lowryat the National Review explained it best: “The SPLC and its allies on the left won’t be satisfied until there are no other views on gay marriage.” Ziegler and his allies in the media are proving Lowry right.