From: USAF Academy Cadet Football Player’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: AFA Football Player Request for Help
Date: December 1, 2015 at 12:18:30 PM MST
To: Information Weinstein <[email protected]>
Dear Mr. Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF,
I am a member of and play on the Air Force Falcons football team. We have a bad problem going on here now. And I have asked the MRFF to please help me and others on the team in a certain matter regarding public religious practices.
Please keep my name out of all of this because of what they could do to me for going to you.
The problem is specifically the kneeling down in public prayer by most of the members of our football team. Certainly the majority. This has been done prior to our games on the playing field right in front of everyone in attendance in the stadiums. And I and others ask for the MRFF to help us get it to stop.
The coaches and others are not officially or directly making us do it together. But some clearly favor it. That is for certain. It is certain cadets on the team who are viewed as leaders (and even some who are not but still have team influence) who are leading the public praying. If you don’t go along with it you are not going to be viewed as a good follower or teammate. I am not alone. There are enough of us who feel pressured to conform and this is wrong. I have not seen any of our opponents do what our so many players on the AFA team have been doing. I mean virtually the whole team kneeling down and praying on the field in front of the crowds. This is wrong for several reasons which I shouldn’t have to go into because it’s obvious. I have seen the statements Mr. Weinstein sent me by the 3 grads. The 2 generals and the the other AF officer as to why this so bad and I and the others I’ve shown them to agree with them totally.
I really don’t want to say much more and do not want my name used please. I do not want to get into trouble here at the Academy for asking for the MRFF’s help but there was no other choice. My girlfriend (also a cadet) had gone to the MRFF before on another problem months ago and you all helped her. Her name never came out either so I am trusting the MRFF like she does. We both thank the MRFF for what they do.
I talked with my mom and dad first and they put me in touch with the MRFF after they talked to Mr. Weinstein. I happen to be raised as a Christian and still practice that faith. Not all of us on our team are like my background. It is causing dissension but no one will talk about it. Many don’t even see it. There can be whispers but even that can get you jacked up bad. And if we asked the coaches to help us you better be very careful which coach you go to.
My and the others solution for this is to just have the players kneel in prayer or do other religious stuff out of the public view. And in the locker room and such. There’s tons of non-public praying options for us all.
Thank you for hearing me out and for giving me and the others a way to express our disapproval and fears without getting hurt in the process of doing so. How can we be hurt? A lot of ways. One of the worst is by getting tagged as an informer here at USAFA and having this follow us after we get into the Air Force. None of us should have to deal with this on those terms. We didn’t cause this on the playing field praying epic fail.
(USAF Academy cadet football player’s name, cadet rank, cadet title, football team position and cadet squadron all withheld)