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A lawyer for a religious liberty organization warned the University of Colorado that football head coach Deion Sanders’ prayers are constitutionally protected.

Sanders, 55, was named head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes in December. In the months prior, he courted controversy by leading the Jackson State Tigers football team in prayer before games.

The atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) targeted Sanders for leading the CU Buffaloes in prayer, saying it violated the “requirements imposed by the First Amendment on public school employees’ religious expression.”

On Jan. 24, FFRF sent a letter to CU complaining that Sanders was engaging in “school-sponsored proselytizing.” FFRF demanded that Sanders adhere to the strict separation of church and state.

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However, First Liberty Institute sent a letter to CU on Tuesday, after school officials met with Sanders to “provide guidance on the boundaries in which players may and may not engage in religious expression.”

First Liberty Institute’s attorney warned the school about providing any guidance on Sanders’ religious expression.

“The [U.S.] Supreme Court has repeatedly held that public school employees may engage in religious expression and exercise; therefore, public universities like CU may not target Coach Sanders (or other members of the football staff) for exercising constitutional rights on campus,” First Liberty Institute attorney Keisha Russell wrote in the letter.

Russell stressed that “Coach Sanders does not lose his constitutional right to free exercise of religion simply because he is an employee of CU.” Russell She warned that “giving ‘guidance on the boundaries in which players and coaches may and may not engage in religious expression’ presents a risk of state-sponsored censorship of Coach Sanders’ private speech.”

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Sanders’ strong religious beliefs sustained him after blood clots in his leg led to the amputation of two of his toes while he was coaching at Jackson State.

The coach told Chris Neely of “Thee Pregame Show” that he “got to really see God’s face and the different personalities of God” while in the hospital.

The NFL legend discussed the “quiet cries at night that were in that hospital,” specifically, “all the speaking in tongues, and the prayer, and the fellowship of God, and the praising Him through and through, I’m pretty sure that some of those nurses thought I was crazy.”