ESPN Chief John Skipper Calls Chris Broussard's Jason Collins Remarks 'A Mistake'

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When ESPN president John Skipper (pictured) announced Aug. 28 that the cable network would pay $5.6 billion over eight years beginning in 2014 for a package of Major League Baseball games, baseball commissioner Bud Selig boasted of a "record-setting increase in the annual rights fee."

ESPN president John Skipper admitted that basketball analyst Chris Broussard's statements about gay NBA player Jason Collins' homosexuality were “a mistake.”

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Speaking to a small group of reporters after the sports giant's annual upfront presentation in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, Skipper added that ESPN most definitely does not share Broussard's views about homosexuality. Skipper's comments marked the first time a network executive publicly has addressed Broussard's assertions that Collins is “living in open rebellion to God,” which were made during the April 29 edition ESPN's Outside the Lines.

“We don't quarrel with his right to have any personal point of view,” said Skipper. “As a company, we have a tolerant point of view, we're a diverse company. That just does not represent what our company thinks.”

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Broussard was discussing Collins' historic coming out as the first openly gay NBA player with ESPN columnist LZ Granderson. His comments quickly ignited a firestorm of media criticism, and Broussard posted a lengthy message of Twitter expressing regret: "Today on OTL, as part of a larger, wide-ranging discussion on today's news, I offered my personal opinion as it relates to Christianity, a point of view that I have expressed publicly before. 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." 

And he has reiterated his views in at least one subsequent interview. Skipper said he spoke to OTL producers and Broussard after the incident.

“Chris Broussard's job is to come on and talk about the news of the league,” he said. “He made a personal comment, and that was a mistake. We brought Chris on as a reporter. And it was a mistake for him to cross the line into a personal point of view.”