Broussard was speaking on a special edition of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” centered on NBA center Jason Collins becoming the first active player from one of the four major U.S. team sports to reveal himself as gay.
“If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, (but) adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals … I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ,” Broussard said. “I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
Update: Several hours after being contacted for a comment on Broussard’s remarks, ESPN issued the following statement: “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.”
The comments, predictably, ignited a firestorm on Twitter and other social media. On “Outside the Lines,” CNN and ESPN journalist LZ Granderson disagreed with Broussard.
“My response is that faith, just like love, just like marriage, is personal,” Granderson said, “and if you try to use a broad brush to paint everyone’s faith, what you really are painting is a world that’s comfortable for you and not a world in which in this country we’re allowed varying forms of religion. And just because someone doesn’t agree with one person’s interpretation of the Bible vs. another, doesn’t mean that they have exclusive rights to dictate how that person should live. I would love not to have premarital sex, but in this country, I’m not allowed to get married.”
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.
ESPN is clearly hoping the statement will quell the controversy.