JEFF PEARLMAN

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Chris Broussard is embarrassing himself

Guts.

Back during the Civil Rights era, certain ignorant tools became well known for their nonstop opposition of equality. Even today, a half-century later, the names roll off the tongue like chunks of bitter herbs.

George Wallace.

Bull Connor.

Justice Jim Johnson.

Strom Thurmond.

Ross Barnett.

On and on and on the list goes—men whose words and deeds at the time have left generations of contemporaries and ancestors to try and protect any lingering morsels of what once was, perhaps, a good name.

Because he is but a loud, annoying sports commentator, ESPN’s Chris Broussard cannot be grouped with the likes of the above men, all of whom possessed genuine power to, oh, block the entrance to a university or, say, spray down protesters with fire hoses. With his voice and his network gig, however, Broussard (known, without merit, as an NBA “insider”) can speak authoritatively, and have people take his opinions to heart. When he says Dwight Howard should stay in Los Angeles, folks listen. When he says the Knicks can’t hang with the Heat, folks listen.

When he says gays are immoral sinners who can’t call themselves real Christians, well, folks listen.

This is pretty much what happened today, when ESPN—the network famous for loving powerful opinions until those powerful opinions turn embarrassing—allowed Broussard to appear on the nation’s television screens and say, um, this …

For the record, I’m a fan of freedom of speech. Chris Broussard is certainly entitled to his opinions, and if ESPN wants him to state them, well, mazel tov!

I too, however, am entitled to my opinion—and my opinion is that Broussard is a moron. On a day when the first openly gay active American athlete (from a team sport) courageously comes out of the closet, Broussard reacts by … giving us a lecture on homosexuality and sinfulness? Really? Not a lecture on courage, or guts, or what surely must have been a tough decision—but sinfulness? Really?

In journalism, there’s an old-school rule that all the good ones try to follow: Report what you know to be true. Not what you think is true, not what you believe to be true, not what the Bible tells you is true. What. You. KNOW. Is. True. Guys like Chris Broussard do not know that God hates gays. Hell, guys like Chris Broussard do not even know—with 100-percent certainty—that God exists. He thinks he knows. He’s pretty sure he knows. But the same can be said of Jews; of Muslims; of Hindus; of atheists; of hundreds of other religions. The truth is, no one can be completely certain, unless he’s delusional or drugged.

So, minus certainty, how can one go on national television and—on a day of something monumental (whether you support Collins or not)—tell us being gay is wrong, and Collins is a sinner?

Personally speaking, I don’t believe in God. However, if He does exist, here are a couple of things I’m guessing to be true:

1. He wouldn’t create gays to hate gays.

2. He wouldn’t love the idea of one of His so-called followers going on TV to judge another.

3. He would admire courage; Jason Collins-esque courage.

As I do.