While the left lectures Americans about the historic breakthrough made by NBA free agent Jason Collins in announcing his sexuality and calls for well-deserved tolerance, they are on full-out attack against ESPN commentator Chris Broussard for expressing his Christian views. And now ESPN has been forced to apologize.
It all started when Broussard appeared on Outside the Lines to talk about Collins. Appearing with ESPN senior writer LZ Granderson, who is openly gay, Broussard was asked by the host, “How ready is the NBA and the locker rooms for having an openly gay teammate?”
Broussard answered, “The climate in society is very set for this thing to happen …. A lot of people feel like if you come out and say you don’t agree with homosexuality, you are viewed as a bigot, you are viewed as intolerant. So I think the climate is right for somebody to come out and say they are gay. I’ve been texting with players, GMs, coaches, agents throughout the day … and it’s been overwhelmingly supportive of Jason, from former teammates to guys who have played against him.” Broussard acknowledged that a few players said they might be uncomfortable with a gay player in the showers, but that “I don’t think you’ll see somebody come out and be against this, whether because of their true feelings or because of political correctness.”
Later in the conversation, Granderson said, “If we really want to move toward progress and toward full acceptance, we have to have this conversation and this process. Broussard then seconded that motion, and gave an example of that conversation and how it could be productive:
I’d like to second what LZ said. “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.
This has been the traditional Biblical view for thousands of years. Still, traditionally religious people in the United States, like Broussard, have reached an understanding and tolerance for those with whom they disagree. Mutual tolerance between the traditionally religious and proponents of the morality of homosexuality is what the conversation between Granderson and Broussard was all about. As Granderson said, “Chris and I have had those uncomfortable conversations, the NBA now needs to have those uncomfortable conversations.” Tolerance is the goal. And tolerance requires tolerance on both sides.
But instead of having those uncomfortable conversations, and coming to mutual respect for one another’s positions, the left went after Broussard hammer and tongs. The hashtag #firechrisbroussard quickly skyrocketed on Twitter. The same left that praised Bob Costas to the skies for randomly sounding off on Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and gun control now decided that Broussard was way out of line. The LA Times ran an online poll asking, “Should Broussard have said what he said on TV?”
Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports wrote, “The last thing [gay youths] need is to see someone like Chris Broussard, who ESPN (and by extension, the NBA) trusts as both its voice both at games and in-studio, to be referring to them as sinners who are in ‘open rebellion to God.'” Deadspin‘s John Koblin said that it was “unclear why [Broussard’s opinion was] necessary or even relevant at this hour.” Variety subtly suggested, “In December, ESPN suspended commentator Rob Parker for questionable comments on the race of NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III, then chose not to renew his contract after it expired at year’s end.”
In response to all this leftist tolerance, ESPN dutifully released a statement apologizing for Broussard’s comments: “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.” Naturally, Buzzfeed’s Kate Aurthur ripped ESPN anyway for not sufficiently falling into line: “So no apology from Broussard …. ESPN got itself into this ridiculous, impossible situation here by relying on one of its employee’s religious beliefs to inform a discussion about the huge Collins news …. What I would like to know, therefore, is why they put Broussard on the air to discuss his personal feelings about Collins, homosexuality, and Christianity, rather than his area of professional expertise — basketball — in the first place.” Aurthur went on a rampage, calling Broussard “punitive, unforgiving,” and lamenting that “Collins’ beautiful announcement” had been tarnished by ESPN’s “outdated, homophobic pit of its own making.”
Broussard’s opinion was verboten according to the left. Granderson’s was not. The right was happy to air both opinions. Yet the left thinks that Broussard was way out of bounds. That’s because the goal of the left in overplaying the Jason Collins coming out party – a presidential call? Really? – is to portray those who disagree on homosexuality as bigots and homophobes who want to deny people like Collins happiness. Broussard never even remotely suggested that Collins should not have come out. He repeatedly stated that the time was ripe for Collins to come out. Virtually everyone on the right agrees with that general perspective. But Broussard violated the most taboo of all standards: he suggested that he had a different moral view than that of the left. And so now his job may be in jeopardy.
When it comes to tyranny and tolerance, the case of Chris Broussard is far more telling than that of Jason Collins. It is the left that wants tyranny of expression. Tolerance only extends to those deemed worthy by the left.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).