Tim Tebow, Jason Collins and Chris Broussard…and courage.
Normally the news that Tim Tebow was releasedâ€¦well, any news about Tim Tebow, really, would be the talk of sports talk radio. But not yesterday. Yesterday (and today, and probably for the rest of the week) the talk â€“ and not just on sports talk, but all over the radio dial â€“ was about another Christian, Jason Collins.
For those who donâ€™t live here in the States, donâ€™t listen to the radio, and donâ€™t follow the news, Jason Collins is a professional basketball player. He has played for 12 years for a number of teams. And he is gay.
There has been speculation for some time now concerning when (not if) a male athlete in one of the four major sports (thatâ€™s baseball, basketball, football and hockey, for you sports challenged) would come out as homosexual. So it is no surprise that his announcement has made some noise.
Also making some noise are the comments that ESPN basketball analyst Chris Broussard made concerning the announcement, how other players might or might not feel about playing with an openly gay teammate, and, most disconcertingly for some, what the Bible says about homosexuality.
The reactions are predictable â€“ Broussard is a bully. He shouldnâ€™t have used that medium to express his views. His views are based on centuries old influences that clearly are out of date and out of step. He is a hypocrite, a bigot, and a loudmouth. And of course, â€śChrist told his followers not to judge.â€ť
Jason Collins is brave. He is a role model. He deserves a contract next year (apparently just for being homosexualâ€¦). He is courageous and strong. Even the President called to congratulate him and laud his courage.
Others are taking it with a degree of apathy or at least ambivalence, saying, â€śwhy does it matter?â€ť or â€śWhat do I care if a pro athlete is gay or otherwise?â€ť
Some have written their support for Broussard and a Biblical view of sin and homosexuality.
Rather than make a statement, Iâ€™m going to just ask a few questions (albeit leading questions):
1. Isnâ€™t this the big news everyone is making out to be (it was the lead story on ABC News) because it is widely understood (or assumed) that other players might have a problem with a homosexual in their locker room? Isnâ€™t that why other players havenâ€™t come out before now?
2. If a player doesnâ€™t feel comfortable with a homosexual person sharing a locker room, do they have the freedom to say so (as the retired Larry Johnson did)? Or is that person a bigot? Or does he just need to grow up and get over himself? After all, as one writer said, â€śweâ€™ve all been in the locker room with Jason Collins and heâ€™s never come on to any of us.â€ť
3. If you say that itâ€™s no big deal (to have a homosexual teammate), arenâ€™t you suggesting that there is no difference between a homosexual man and a heterosexual man? Donâ€™t you have to ignore sexuality as a whole to make such a claim? And if so, why donâ€™t we have unisex locker rooms and showers? Why do they have a menâ€™s shower and a womenâ€™s shower at the gym?
4. If it is courageous to stand up and â€śaccept who you areâ€ť in the way that Jason Collins did, isnâ€™t it also brave and courageous of Chris Broussard to admit that he believes what has become unpopular to believe â€“ that the Bible is true, that the Bible says that homosexual sin is just like other kinds of sexual sin, and that the Bible says you will know them (followers of Christ) by their fruit? Knowing the extreme politically correct atmosphere in which we currently live, having seen others have to backtrack or apologize or â€śclarifyâ€ť their statements â€“ including Tim Tebow, incidentally â€“ wasnâ€™t it courageous of Broussard to come out as a Bible believing Christian?