AFA coaches must provide "appropriate disclaimer" on Twitter accounts

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FROM THE AFA WEBSITE
  • From the AFA website

A week after we first asked the Air Force Academy about a football coach's proselytizing on his Twitter account, we finally got an answer.

Read the background on this issue here.

The Academy says via email:
We appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Upon looking into this matter, we learned that all athletic coaches' social media accounts are personal and not maintained by the Air Force Academy Athletic Department. The views and comments within these accounts are personal and not the views of the Air Force Academy or Air Force. However, we appreciate that the accounts could appear official and have advised that an appropriate disclaimer be included to avoid confusion in this regard.

The Academy remains committed to protecting individuals' right to practice any religion they choose, or no religion, provided their practices do not violate policy or law, or impede mission accomplishment, military readiness, unit cohesion, standards or discipline. 
As we understand it, this means the coaches are free to use Academy images on their "personal" Twitter accounts that they use to proselytize, but they have to insert a disclaimer that it's not an official Academy account.

It's worth noting that after we raised the question a week ago, triggered by a complaint to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Academy removed links to coaches' Twitter accounts from the AFA athletic division website. So if you see a Falcon coach tweeting with images from the Academy and Bible verses, know that it's not officially coming from the Academy.

We asked for clarification on this point — whether coaches can still use AFA images and represent themselves as with the Academy in evangelizing messages — but were told that everyone had gone home today and that a response will come on Monday.

We checked in with MRFF's founder and chief executive Mikey Weinstein, who said in an email, "My response is that this is complete and utter bullshit and there will be a lot more to come on this."

MRFF filed a complaint with the Defense Department's Inspector General's Office, which apparently has already opened an investigation. It's unclear whether the Academy's solution as stated above ends the investigation.


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