By Paul Grant
Former N.B.A. player for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards, Jason Collins announced publicly that he is gay a few weeks ago and has received harsh criticism from Chris Broussard, a commentator on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” Collins is the first active male player on a major sports team to announce that he is gay and many prominent figures like former President Clinton, Lakers star Kobe Bryant and former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal have all supported and thanked Collins for coming forward. Meanwhile, Broussard made comments on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” about Collin’s coming out, stirring up controversy with some people.
Broussard said “Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or have 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. 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.”
Right away, many people found this comment absolutely offensive which lead to Broussard being labeled as a bigot and the possibility of termination from his job with ESPN. I don’t understand. Broussard is only trying to say that it is permissible to be gay, but not appropriate to be a homosexual Christian because you’re not following scripture under this lifestyle. In a country founded upon laws, one of the greatest laws is being able to have the freedom of speech, but more importantly shouldn’t Broussard be able to have his belief system? All in all, he is a man who believes in Jesus, he trying to explain everything he feels is a sin to him, and is only speaking passionately about his belief system, so why should he lose his job? I don’t know how anyone can find what he said offensive. I personally don’t like what he said, but I will stand behind him and protect his right to say what he wants because our constitution permits the freedom of speech. I’m fine with Broussard’s belief system just like I am about Collins publically announcing he is gay.
Any player in the NBA, NFL or major league baseball who comes out and breaks boundaries, that player does not have to worry about going to a stadium and having people make horrible comments or remarks because in the major leagues these players are by and large protected. The truth is that people are going to judge and criticize anyway, but I think a college sports player has to worry about his or her reputation since college students are less likely to be as accepting to the notion of coming out.