I love ESPN. I watch it a lot. I also read ESPN online and ESPN magazine. You can guess that I love sports.
What I don’t expect from ESPN is anti-gay, homophobic bible-thumping rhetoric of the type spewed out today on “Outside the Lines” by ESPN magazine’s senior writer Chris Broussard, reacting to the breaking news that NBA center Jason Collins had come out.
Broussard disparaged Collins, saying about the NBA center that he would “not characterize him as a Christian.” Broussard said:
“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
Even worse, Broussard made his homophobic comments on the same program with openly gay ESPN sportscaster LZ Granderson. But Granderson quickly shot down Broussard: “I really don’t need Chris or anyone else telling me if I’m a Christian because Jesus tells me I am.”
This is not the first time that Broussard stuck his foot in his mouth. In 2009, he penned an essay via ESPN in which he said he thought the NBA was ready for an openly gay player. Yet, he let his homophobia take over, and here is a sample:
“I’m a born-again, Bible-believing Christian (no, I’m not a member of the Religious Right). And I’m against homosexuality (I believe it’s a sin) and same-sex marriage.
“But before you label me “homophobic,” know that I’m against any type of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. That includes heterosexual fornication (premarital sex). …
“Granted, I don’t shower with LZ after games like NBA teammates do, and I’ll admit that if I had to, it might be a little uncomfortable at first.
“But if a gay player just goes about his business in the shower, showing that he has no sexual interest in his teammates and that he’s not “checking them out,” I think the awkwardness would wear off fairly quickly. LZ and I know where each other stand and we respect each other’s right to believe as he does.”
There are many other “gems” to read in that blog. To read the full essay, click HERE.
Broussard isn’t the only person to step into manure today.
Miami Dolphins star receiver Mike Wallace tweeted this:
“All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH …”
The feedback was immediate and harsh. Wallace quickly deleted the tweet and issued an apology.
“I’m not bashing anybody don’t have anything against anyone I just don’t understand it.”
For one thing, Mr. Wallace, you are showing your ignorance. If you “don’t understand it,” google “homosexuality” and learn something today. Not all people in this world you live in are just like you.
The Miami Dolphins organization swiftly issued this statement to the media:
"Mike Wallace has apologized for his comments, and we have addressed the matter with him. Mike's comments do not reflect the views of the Miami Dolphins. We believe in a culture of inclusiveness and respect, and any statements to the contrary are in no way acceptable to our organization. We will address the entire team about our policy of inclusion and make sure they all understand the importance of respecting individual choices."
The Dolphins, like many other sports organizations, applauded Collins for his courage to live an open and truthful life.
Thousands of people and groups tweeted messages of encouragement to Collins, including first lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
@FLOTUS tweeted: “So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We've got your back! –mo”
@billclinton tweeted: "I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend."
Collins also was asked to be a marshal in this year’s Boston Gay Pride Parade.
To mark today’s history-making, the Human Rights Campaign is encouraging people to share a “thank you” on Facebook to lend support for Collins’ trailblazing courage. You can find it HERE.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.