After weeks of rumors and innuendo building up over a possible coming out party for an American athlete in the NFL, Washington Wizards center Jason Collins stepped forward Monday and became the first openly gay athlete actively playing a major American team sport.
Thus the door was opened—the door for discussion, acceptance and yes, criticism of the way male sexuality is handled in the world of the sports.
While Collins’ admission was met with an outpouring of support in the NBA, ESPN analyst Chris Broussard expressed an opinion that stood in stark contrast to his colleagues takes on the matter—that Collins' lifestyle makes him a sinner.
On ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Broussard explained his position on Collins’ announcement, saying his faith doesn’t allow him to agree with homosexuality.
“Personally, I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin...as I think all sex outside of marriage is a sin."
The response to Broussard’s part in the discussion was swift and immediate, with detractors and supporters all sounding off on what quickly became another controversial discussion moment on ESPN:
@chris_broussard has been brainwashed by religion. A person's sexuality doesn't make him a sinner any more than his color or birthplace.— Ajené from Brooklyn (@Ajenebk) April 30, 2013
Someone show Chris Broussard my story on Jason Collins. Learn him a thing or two on decency cbsprt.co/ZRSlnW— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) April 29, 2013
So you ask @chris_broussard for his thoughts and you're attacking him cause you disagree with them? And he's the intolerant one?— Lecrae (@lecrae) April 29, 2013
“Today on OTL, as part of larger, wide-ranging discussion on today’s news, I offered my opinion...I realized that some people might disagree with my opinion and I respect and accept that...I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.”
The question now is, is there room for this kind of opinion in the sports media?
Should media figures leave their religious beliefs at home before treading the oft murky waters of public discourse? If so, is it fair to invite the question of sexuality into discussion if there isn’t allowed to be an honest discussion?
As Jason Collins opened the door for the discussion of homosexuality in sports, it might be that Broussard cracked the lid on whether or not religious opinions are fair game for airing in sports media.
The question is, does the lid need to be opened?
On Twitter: Dr__Carson