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College player says coach made him choose between church and football

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PORTLAND, Ore. – A college athlete in Oregon says his coach forced him to choose between church or football, and now he’s fighting to stay on the team.

“He asked me to choose between church and football. I said, ‘Coach, you can’t ask me to do that. It’s like asking me to choose between God and football,” said Vincent Johnson.

Johnson, a defensive tackle for the Portland State University Vikings, says it was a decision he never thought he would have to make.

“I just really want to play,” he said.

However, Johnson hasn’t taken the field in months after saying he went to his coach with a conflict.

Four services at his Milwaukie church, the World Mission Society Church of God, fell at the same time as football practice.

Johnson claims his coach would only allow some of the absences.

“There’s a lot of people that miss practice due to if they have academics, or anything like that, so it could have been arranged,” he said.

He has since filed a complaint with the university, and the case is still under investigation.

“We reported it to our Global Diversity and Inclusion office and immediately began an investigation. In the meantime, we’ve made the student aware that their tuition and their scholarship is safe and secure,” said Scott Gallagher, PSU communications director.

For that, Johnson says he is grateful.

“That was a blessing right there,” he said.

His primary focus is still on finishing school but he is also hoping to get back on the field.

“I just want to finish my college career,” he said.