In a segment on Monday about NBA player Jason Collins’ coming out, EPSN analyst Chris Broussard said that as a Christian he does not “agree with homosexuality” and implied that by coming out as gay, Collins is “walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.”
Broussard has come under fire for that comment, made on the network’s one-hour special episode of Outside the Lines, which focused on Collins’ essay in Sports Illustrated where he announced he is gay, becoming the first openly gay male major American professional sports player.
Broussard said on the segment that “true tolerance and acceptance is being able to… not criticize each other and call each other names,” before launching into his personal beliefs about homosexuality.
“If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says ‘you know them by their fruits,’ it says that that’s a sin,” said Broussard. “And if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality — adultery, fornication, pre-marital sex between heterosexuals — whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ, so I would not characterize that person as a Christian.”
In Collins’ piece published in Sports Illustrated (which, like Entertainment Weekly, is owned by Time Inc.), the Washington Wizards player wrote, “I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.”
Broussard had previously written about his belief that homosexuality is a sin in a 2009 blog post. In that post, he stated that the NBA is “ready for an openly gay player,” though he also admitted that if he had to share a locker room and shower with gay teammates, he would be “a little uncomfortable at first.”
Regarding Broussard’s comments, ESPN said in a statement released to EW, “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.”