JEFF PEARLMAN

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Gays, straights and mindless ESPN banter

So Jemele Hill, my pal and former Quaz subject, is doing a mailbag for ESPN.com. Her first one came out today.

Jemele discussed the recent comments from former Giant receiver David Tyree, who spoke forcefully against gay marriage. A few days earlier Hill had sort of supported Hill’s rights to be a bigot, eh … express his opinions, and the reaction was pretty strong.

In today’s column, Jemele wrote this:

The passionate responses to the Tyree column reminded me of an honest and thoughtful blog written by NBA analyst Chris Broussard, a devout Christian, after former NBA player John Amaechi disclosed in 2007 he is gay. Broussard wrote he believes the NBA is ready for a gay player, but he also powerfully laid out that while he’s against homosexuality that doesn’t preclude him from being friends with ESPN.com columnist LZ Granderson, who is openly gay (and a dear friend of mine, too).

Broussard wrote: “LZ and I know where each other stand and we respect each other’s right to believe as he does. I know he’s gay, and he knows I believe that’s a sin. I know he thinks I get my moral standards from an outdated, mistranslated book, and he knows I believe he needs to change his lifestyle. Still, we can laugh together, and play ball together.

That’s real diversity. Disagreeing but not being disagreeable.”

Well put.

I don’t know Broussard or Granderson—but I do know this is (with all apologies to Jemele) bullshit. Chris Broussard is, I’m guessing, an educated, intelligent, exposed human being. He’s met people of all different creeds and religions and, well, he should be ashamed. Absolutely, positively, 100 percent ashamed. “He should change his lifestyle“?! What? Chris, Granderson is gay, not a member of the Rotary. That’s not something you change; not something you end with the cancelation of a membership. I get the point of the column … that people from different sides can still be close and blah, blah, blah. But—no. Not here. For Broussard to believe Granderson needs to change is for Broussard to be extremely, extremely, extremely naive and, yes, homophobic. I would no sooner ask a gay person to change than a black person to change, a tall person to change, a hairy person to change. It’s who you are, not what you choose.

Man, so inane …