ESPN says that it regrets the “distraction” caused by one of its reporters who described Jason Collins as a sinner after the NBA center publicly came out as gay.
Chris Broussard, who covers the NBA for ESPN, said on the air that Collins and others in the NBA who engage in premarital sex or adultery were “walking in open rebellion to God, and to Jesus Christ.” Broussard, a former reporter for The New York Times, spoke during ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” program discussing Collins’ announcement.
In an article in Sports Illustrated, Collins became the first athlete in one of the country’s four major male sports leagues to come out as gay.
ESPN’s Josh Krulewitz said the network regrets that a discussion of personal viewpoints became a “distraction.” The network offered its own view of Collins’ news: “ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement,” he said.
During his on-the-air discussion, Broussard described himself as a Christian.
“I don’t agree with homosexuality,” he said. “I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is.”
Broussard in an online message said that he had previously discussed his point of view about homosexuality publicly.
“I realize that some people disagree with my opinion, and I accept and respect that,” he wrote. “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 … and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.”
Collins, in an interview with The New York Times this week, noted that he is a Christian, too.
“This is all about tolerance and acceptance and America is the best country in the world because we’re all entitled to our opinions and beliefs but we don’t have to agree,” he said. “And obviously I don’t agree with his statement.”