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November 21, 2013
Fired sportscaster ignites the conversation
By Louie Verrecchio *

By Louie Verrecchio *

“There is no quit. None whatsoever.”

So says Damian Goddard, the Canadian sports broadcaster and devout Catholic who lost his job simply for sending a Tweet in support of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In May 2011, as debate was heating up over a referendum to legalize so-called “gay marriage” in the state of New York, professional NHL player Sean Avery of the NY Rangers made a public service announcement urging voters to support the initiative. 

Shortly thereafter, agent Todd Reynolds, who represents a number of NHL players (Avery not among them) sent out a Tweet voicing his disagreement with Avery’s position, insisting that same-sex unions, legal or otherwise, “will always be wrong.”

As one might expect, Reynolds came under heavy fire from the liberal tolerance police for daring to do nothing more than what Avery had done, air his opinion. 

Never being one to shy away from giving voice to his Catholic faith, Goddard, on a day off from his job as a sports anchor for Canadian media giant Rogers Sportsnet, sent out a Tweet of his own:

“I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”

That was May 10, 2011. Before lunchtime on May 11th, Goddard would be unemployed.

I’ve known Damian for a little over a year now, and I’m privileged to call him my friend and brother-in-arms in defense of Christ the King.

Take my word for it, Damian is a lot of things; stupid isn’t one of them. He knew darn well, if only from witnessing the abuse heaped upon Todd Reynolds, that standing up for the truth that comes to us from God through His Holy Catholic Church would exact a price. He did it anyway just because it was the right thing to do.

That, my friends, is the hallmark of a true man of faith, a warrior for Christ who doesn’t just talk the talk; he runs headlong into the heart of the battle, trusting that “the victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31). 

“I just had this immense amount of respect for a man who was willing to put himself out there and speak for truth — and do what we are called to do as Christians,” Goddard said. “I saw no one was supporting Todd.”

Just hours after sending his message in support of Reynolds, Goddard received a telephone call from his boss at Rogers Sportsnet asking him to come in right away. Spending valuable time with his two young children took precedence, however, and so plans were made to meet the following day; the day Damian Goddard would be unceremoniously fired.

Though Rogers denies that the firing was a direct result of the Tweet, Goddard, and pretty much everyone else with a drop of common sense, has no doubt that simply making a public statement concerning the truth about marriage, on his own time, brought a two decade long broadcasting career to a halt; but not a complete halt, mind you.

“To this day, I believe that my firing was the making of me,” Goddard says. “It liberated me, in a sense, allowing me to forge ahead on a spiritual journey through a treacherous wilderness that appears to be claiming many souls.”

Damian Goddard is living proof that “in everything God works for good with those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)

After an often trying two and a half years of soul searching, hard work and prayerful reliance on the assistance of divine grace, Goddard recently launched Ignite TV, an internet based television network broadcast from a high definition studio located in his Oakville, Ontario home.

Goddard said that the name “Ignite TV” reflects the network’s mission, “to spark open and honest conversation” on a wide range of topics, often the very ones that are considered off-limits in the conventional media world.

“We live in an age where simply taking a position that runs contrary to popular opinion is treated like an act of sedition,” Goddard said. “It’s as though we’ve lost either the desire, or the ability, to engage in forthright dialogue in defense of our most deeply held convictions. That has to change, and that’s where Ignite TV comes in.”

Goddard believes that his extensive training and background in broadcast journalism will allow him to guide “the kinds of conversations at Ignite TV that you won’t hear anywhere else.”

While Ignite TV will be “faith-based,” Goddard is quick to clarify what that means.

“I’ve never been a fan of the label ‘faith-based programming.’ Everything we do, whether we admit it or not, is ‘faith-based’ and grounded in the convictions that inform the very essence of what we do in life. Ignite TV will simply provide the venue for making those convictions heard, explained and defended.”

Goddard is convinced that the fledgling network has tremendous potential, pointing to Glenn Beck’s subscriber-supported Blaze TV as a prime example.
“Internet TV and the video-on-demand approach to gathering and disseminating ideas and information is the wave of the future. The potential reach is just incredible. Eventually, our growth will be fueled through a mix of subscriptions and advertising, but for the time being we’re going to offer our content free of charge and let people decide its value.”

Check it out for yourself. I think you’ll find Damian Goddard and Ignite TV most worthy or your support.

Author and speaker Louie Verrecchio was a columnist for Catholic News Agency from April 2009 to 2013. His work, which includes Year of Faith resources like the Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II Faith Formation Series, has been endorsed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia; Bishop Emeritus Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster, England; Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, IA, USA and others. For more information please visit: www.harvestingthefruit.com

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