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ESPN Reporter's Comments After NBA Player Comes Out Launches Debate on Media Double Standard

Brook Lopez #11 of the Brooklyn Nets drives to the net for a basket against Jason Collins #98, then with the Boston Celtics, at the Barclays Center on December 25, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 93-76. (Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

NBA journeyman and pros pro Jason Collins made news off the court Monday, coming out as gay in a Sports Illustrated cover story that was much discussed across sports and hard news outlets through the day. As the first gay male athlete to come out in one of the four major professional sports leagues while still active, Collins received a phone call from the president and support on social media from many of the NBA's biggest stars and former teammates. After Collins's announcement itself though, on-air comments from prominent ESPN NBA reporter Chris Broussard on the news took the next largest portion of the day's media focus. TheBlaze reports:

Reacting to NBA player Jason Collins’ decision to publicly come out as gay on Monday, ESPN analyst Chris Broussard said he wouldn’t classify a homosexual as a “Christian” because the Bible makes it clear that it is a sin. He went on to say that living in unrepentant sin, not just homosexuality, is “walking in open rebellion to God.”

“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or openly– like premarital sex between heterosexuals– if you are openly living that type of lifestyle then the Bible says you know…that’s a sin,” Broussard explained.

He continued: “And if you are openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality… I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So, I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize him as a Christian.”

Broussard received immediate criticism on social media for the comments, with many tweeting the hashtag #firechrisbroussard and labeling the reporter's comments as homophobic or bigoted. ESPN released a statement later in the day backing off but not penalizing Broussard's remarks, saying they welcome Collins and "regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news."

Supporters of Broussard argue though that he was just stating his opinion when asked, and did not call for any mistreatment of Collins in the player's professional or public life, or attack Collins personally. Conservatives have quickly called out a double standard with the across the board celebration in the mainstream media of Collins's announcement and views on homosexuality, while directly condemning or labeling Broussard's religious-based views as controversial.

On 'Real News' Tuesday the panel debated if Jason Collins's statement makes him a hero, whether or not Broussard's comments crossed the line, and  if a double-standard exists in a left-leaning media that has made a choice on homosexuality, with all other alternate views now labeled "controversial."

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