ESPN has been pushed to apologize for conservative Christian views expressed by NBA analyst Chris Broussard, who stated a biblical view of homosexuality during a segment about the coming out of free agent Jason Collins.
During an "Outside the Lines" appearance on Mr. Collins — who said earlier this week he was gay — Mr. Broussard was asked by the host about the readiness of the NBA to deal with an openly homosexual player.
Mr. Broussard said: "The climate in society is very set for this thing to happen. ... A lot of people feel like if you come out and say you don't agree with homosexuality, you are viewed as a bigot, you are viewed as intolerant. So I think the climate is right for somebody to come out and say they are gay."
On the panel with Mr. Broussard was openly gay ESPN senior writer LZ Granderson, who later said that the issue demanded more conversation in order to progress. Mr. Broussard agreed and said: "I'd like to second what LZ said. I'm a Christian. I don't agree with homosexuality. I think it's a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is."
Mr. Broussard then said that he and Mr. Granderson — despite their conflicting views of homosexuality — have nevertheless socialized together in public situations without animosity.
"I don't criticize him, he doesn't criticize me and call me a bigot, call me ignorant, call me intolerant," Mr. Broussard said.
Similarly, other conservative Christians in the NBA want similar tolerance for their views, he said.
Leftist bloggers and gay-rights activists latched onto Mr. Broussard's statements and slammed what they characterized as his extremist views.
"The last thing [gay youths] need is to see someone like Chris Broussard, who ESPN (and by extension, the NBA) trusts as both its voice both at games and in-studio, to be referring to them as sinners who are in 'open rebellion to God,'" said Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports, as reported by Breitbart.
And another blogger complained that it was "unclear why [Mr. Broussard's opinion was] necessary or even relevant," Breitbart reported.
It didn't take long for ESPN to rush to apologize.
"We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today's news," the organization said in a statement reported by Breitbart. "ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins' announcement."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.