ESPN analyst and sportswriter Chris Broussard is feeling the heat today after calling homosexuality a sin during a televised discussion Monday.
Broussard, a well-known and committed Christian who has written about his beliefs before, was asked to comment on NBA player Jason Collins’ announcement that he is gay. In an article for Sports Illustrated published online Monday, Collins talked about his sexuality and his belief in God.
During the ESPN program Outside the Lines, which also featured sportswriter LZ Granderson, who is openly gay, the host asked Broussard to comment on Collins’ claim to be a Christian. (See video clip below.)
“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly 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’s a sin,” Broussard said. “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
In a statement released after the show, ESPN distanced itself from Broussard: “We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement.”
At least the network acknowledged Broussard’s comments were part of a respectful discussion. He and Granderson, who are friends, were invited onto the show to offer opposing viewpoints on the issue. In a situation set up to make him look like the bad guy, Broussard stated his beliefs without resorting to name-calling, something he urged others to consider.
“In talking to some people around the league, there’s a lot Christians in the NBA and just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant and things like that,” he said. “That’s what LZ was getting at. Just like I may tolerate someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, he can tolerate my beliefs. He disagrees with my beliefs and my lifestyle but true tolerance and acceptance is being able to handle that as mature adults and not criticize each other and call each other names.”
Despite his call for tolerance, Broussard has been labeled a bigot and his comments described as hateful. Late Monday, he posted a message about the reaction to his comments: “I realize that some people disagree with my opinion and I accept and respect that. As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.”