Damian Goddard, Former Sportsnet Host, To File Human Rights Complaint After Dismissal Over Same-Sex Tweet

Goddard Sportsnet

First Posted: 06/23/11 08:29 PM ET Updated: 08/23/11 06:12 AM ET

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TORONTO - A TV sportscaster fired after tweeting his opposition to same-sex marriage plans to file a human rights complaint.

Rogers Sportsnet fired Damian Goddard as an on-air host last month following his tweets on a debate sparked by New York Rangers forward Sean Avery's support of same-sex marriage.

Goddard tweeted in support of hockey agent Todd Reynolds, who used Twitter to voice his opposition to Avery's position.

Dave Rashford, Sportsnet's director of communications, said Goddard was fired because "it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization."

Labour lawyer William Gale calls Goddard's firing a "clear violation" of his freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Gale says it gives the impression that Goddard's Catholic beliefs are grounds for dismissal and sets a dangerous precedent for all Canadians.

"I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and true meaning of marriage," Goddard, a lifelong Roman Catholic, tweeted from his personal Twitter account on May 10.

Critics on Twitter were calling for his head because he expressed a commonly held opinion that they didn't like, Gale said Thursday in a release.

"Rogers answered that call swiftly and publicly," Gale said.

Goddard said he was terminated 24 hours after expressing a widely held opinion from his personal Twitter account.

"My message to the millions of Canadians participating in social media is that 'this can happen to you'," Goddard said.

Rashford said Goddard is aware of the "well documented" reasons why he was terminated by Sportsnet.

"Out of respect for our employees we do not discuss personnel issues in the press," Rashford said Thursday in an email. "We will, however, bring forward the facts during any proceeding initiated by Mr. Goddard."

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Filed by Christian Cotroneo  |