Veteran NBA center Jason Collins became the first person yesterday in one of four major U.S Sports leagues to come out and be openly gay.
“It’s incredible. Just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you,” Collins said. “He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me, said this not only affected my life but others going forward.”
While Collins have received tremendous public support from many individuals such as Kobe Bryant, and former teammate Al Horford(Just to name a couple), however there have been individuals who aren’t as accepting.
ESPN’s insider and writer Chris Broussard commented in regards of Collins coming out of the closet and his comments infuriated many in the public. Here’s what Broussard had to say:
“I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is. [ESPN's] L.Z. [Granderson] knows that. He and I have played on basketball teams together for several years. We’ve gone out, had lunch together, we’ve had good conversations, good laughs together. He knows where I stand and I know where he stands. I don’t criticize him, he doesn’t criticize me, and call me a bigot, call me ignorant, call me intolerant.
“In talking to some people around the league, there’s a lot Christians in the NBA and just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant and things like that. That’s what LZ was getting at. Just like I may tolerate someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, he can tolerate my beliefs. He disagrees with my beliefs and my lifestyle but true tolerance and acceptance is being able to handle that as mature adults and not criticize each other and call each other names.
“… Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
Charles Barkely had a thought or two on the situation, and he pretty much boiled it down to discrimination and acceptance when he eluded to the racial adversity that great athletes such as Bill Russell and Jim Brown went through when they played in the NBA and NFL during the mid 20th century. While there’s little in common between race and sexuality but throughout history both have faced serious degrees of discrimination and ostracize.
Here’s the most crucial thing Barkley had to say in regards to Jason Collins announcing his homosexuality:
“Some people is not going to like this, I think they should have the right to express that. We should not crucify them. I disagree with them and it’s alright to disagree, but we live in this thing right now where anybody that comes out against it is going to be crucified and I think that’s unfair.”
I’ve got to say, that’s got to be the healthiest way to look at it.
Chris Broussard took a lot of heat for saying that homosexuality is a sin, but according to his faith, and his religion that constitutes as a fact. Religion is just as big of factor(If one believes in a higher power) as sexuality in someone’s life; if not greater. Just like how Chuck phrased it, Chris Broussard is now being crucified because he stood up and said “I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality.”
Well if the public can be accepting and understanding towards someone’s sexuality then they should be able to react in the same way towards someone’s religious beliefs. Discrimination is never going to dissipate, that’s simply the cold hard truth. The public and media have gone so over the top when it comes things of this nature that everyone is missing the irony of it all.
Chris Broussard is now being called a “Bible-thumper” by many in the public because he doesn’t agree with homosexuality. So what’s the deal here? Should Broussard keep his mouth shut even though that’s how he feels and it’s his religious beliefs? Explain how that would differ from homosexual athletes who remain in the closet because they feel that if they announced to the public that they’re gay it’ll result in some form of discrimination.
Broussard has used Christianity to do a lot of good work in the community, in particular helping young adolescences who are struggling in life as a result of their environment. I’m sure Jason Collins will do a lot of good to by taking a stand and breaking a social barrier that’s never been broken before.
The bottom line is this, Jason Collins has the right to do what he wants with who he wants when he wants in his personal life as do all the other professional athletes. While Broussard and many other individuals reserve the right to not agree with it because it’s part of their religion, or simply their personal belief. Like Chuck said “They shouldn’t be crucified for it.” That applies towards both parties.
Let’s all be rational about this, both parties are simply abiding by their personal beliefs and personal feelings. Neither should be crucified for it, and both should have the right to express themselves because the last time I checked the first amendment of the United States of America included freedom of speech and free exorcise of religion.