Fired Sportsnet host Damian Goddard files human rights complaint; tweets about it

After more than a month, less than a handful of tweets and not much else, fired Rogers Sportsnet on-air host Damian Goddard broke his silence — first on Twitter, and then just about everywhere else.

Last week, Goddard announced  that he was filing a human rights complaint. The broadcaster was canned in May after tweeting several anti-gay marriage comments on his personal account. At the time, Rogers would not give much detail as to why managers fired Goddard, saying, in a public statement: “Mr. Goddard was a freelance contractor and in recent weeks it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization.”

After the initial blow-up, Goddard stayed mum on the situation until June 23 when he tweeted: “in 3 minutes, i’ll be making my first appearance in front of a mic since ‘the tweet’. the Michael Coren Show on CTS is devoting a full hour.” (For those that aren’t familiar, CTS stands for “Crossroads Television System”.) He also announces he’ll be launching a human rights complaint.

You can watch the full interview online at the CTS website, or below from YouTube. In it, Goddard tells his “side” of the story, saying that Rogers Sportsnet (which was invited to appear on the Coren Show, but declined) called him into to the office (he reported on weekends) and said they were breaking his contract, asked him to remove any mentions of Sportsnet on his Twitter and Facebook pages, and, allegedly, asked him not to speak about the matter.

Throughout the segment Coren and Goddard repeat the original tweet several times, seemingly baffled that it caused such an uproar: “I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”

“What’s wrong with that?” asks Coren, the first time it’s mentioned.

Goddard responds, shaking his head: “It’s just a simple statement of my beliefs.”

Goddard’s human rights complaint is also discussed. When Coren tells him that it seems like he was fired over his religious beliefs, which are Roman Catholic, Goddard responds: “I don’t even like to even think of that, Michael, to be honest with you, that bothers me, I don’t even like to entertain that thought, because I can’t imagine in this country, in this free society that that could happen, I don’t want to bnelieve that, I don’t want to believe that. I don’t, that’s upsetting.”

Later on, Goddard’s lawyer, William Gale of the firm Grosman, Grosman & Gale, told media that Goddard’s termination was: “[a] violation of Damian’s freedom of speech and his freedom of religion — two fundamental rights that are supposed to be afforded to every Canadian.”

Gale added that Rogers “cemented the impression that [Goddard’s] Catholic beliefs are inappropriate and grounds for dismissal. We also contend that unless it is challenged, this ‘termination after a tweet’ threatens to set a dangerous precedent for all Canadians in this still-evolving world of social media.”

What do you think? Was Goddard canned for his beliefs, and, if he was, should he have been?