The response to NBA player Jason Collins’s announcement yesterday that he was gay — making him the first openly gay active athlete in any of America’s major sports leagues — had been almost uniformly positive until ESPN reporter Chris Broussard did an interview with his parent network. Asked about Collins’s assertion that, despite being gay, he was a Christian, Broussard insisted that Collins, and all gay people, were living in “unrepentant sin” and “walking in open rebellion to God.”
A brouhaha ensued, and late last night, Broussard released a statement via Twitter:
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.
Less than an hour earlier, ESPN had released a statement of its own amid speculation that it might hand down some kind of disciplinary action on Broussard:
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.
However, a bullshitless statement from ESPN might read:
After being overshadowed by our rival, Sports Illustrated, which exclusively broke the Collins announcement, we put a deeply religious reporter with well-known views on homosexuality on TV and directly prompted him for his “take” on Collins’s Christianity. Chris Broussard said some predictably controversial things, which led to some predictable attention for ESPN. We regret that we waited until the late afternoon to manufacture this distraction from today’s news.