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ESPN’s Chris Broussard is getting flack online after he called homosexuality a “sin” during a Monday episode of Outside the Lines.
In a special one-hour episode covering the immediate impact of Washington Wizards center Jason Collins‘ coming out as a gay man on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Broussard briefly started discussing his personal beliefs about homosexuality.
“If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that that’s a sin,” said Broussard, comparing homosexuality to any other sex outside of marriage. “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.”
Broussard was on Outside the Lines to discuss the potential ramifications of an openly gay player in the NBA, and he noted that there were others who felt the way he did who might have reservations about discussing them openly.
“As a Christian, I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin,” said Broussard. “There are a lot of Christians in the NBA, and just because they don’t agree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant.”
The 44-year-old ESPN Magazine columnist, who previously wrote that the NBA was “ready” for an openly gay player, has appeared on the network since 2004. When the interview veered toward the more incendiary comments, he notably started falling over some of his words and attempted to pad his religious references with some more diplomatic statements.
“A lot of people understand that it’s a politically correct climate,” said Broussard. “I’ve had some players say that they would be uncomfortable with a gay player in the locker room … but no one is going to necessarily come out and say anything. … If he doesn’t get signed next year, it probably won’t be because he came out as gay. He’s towards the end of his career and not that good anymore.”
ESPN did not immediately respond to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment, and Broussard already is drawing a considerable amount of fire online.
UPDATE: ESPN issued the following statement to THR. “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.”
The Center for American Progress has drawn attention to the fact that Broussard’s 2009 article on the NBA being ready to welcome openly gay players also noted him being personally uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a locker room with a gay man.
Collins will give his first on-air interview since coming out to George Stephanopoulos, with the ABC News segment set to premiere during Tuesday’s Good Morning America.
UPDATE: Broussard took to Twitter to expand on his comments:
“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.”
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