Arkansas State University has reversed its decision to require removal of a cross decal from football players' helmets.
The anonymous player who fought against the removal of the Christian-oriented sticker received a letter via the Liberty Institute, the firm representing him, from Arkansas State University stating players would be allowed to use the cross decal on their helmets if they wanted.
“This is a great victory for the players of Arkansas State University!” Liberty Institute litigation director Hiram Sasser said in a statement issued to The Blaze. “The university officials and the Arkansas attorney general did the right thing restoring the religious liberty and free speech rights of the players to have the original cross sticker design if they so choose and we commend them for doing so.”
The cross decals were previously ordered to be removed because of complaints that they violated separation of church and state laws, reports USA Today.
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Athletics Director Terry Mohajir did not agree with the decision, as the cross decal was placed on helmets to honor former player Markel Owens and equipment manager Barry Weyer, who both passed away this year.
The Liberty Institute called the forced removal a violation of law, reports FOX News.
“ASU’s actions in defacing the students’ memorial stickers to remove their religious viewpoint is illegal viewpoint discrimination against the students’ free speech,” said Sasser.
Sasser gave the University until this past Wednesday to “cease your censorship and publicly acknowledge, in writing, the right of ASU’s students to engage in private speech, including speech in the form of a cross-shaped helmet sticker memorial to their former colleagues.”
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Whether the decision to allow the cross decal on player’s helmets was due to the Liberty Institute’s complaint or something else is not known.
But the Liberty Institute is very happy with the decision.
“Above all, we are glad to see that Markel Owens and Barry Weyer will have another year on the football field at Arkansas State because of the compassion and courage of their teammates,” said Sasser.
Photo Source: Region 8 News