ESPN President: Network ‘Should Have Been More Careful With Chris Broussard’

  • Rick Chandler

So how does ESPN really feel about Chris Broussard’s anti-gay Jason Collins rant on its airwaves last month? After first distancing itself from Broussard’s comments on Outside the Lines without really coming down on one side or the other, ESPN president John Skipper today addressed the issue head-on.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch talked with Skipper, and tweeted his response.

(On how ESPN’s platforms did on the Jason Collins announcement)

“I think we did great other than we made one mistake: The mistake was not being more careful with Chris Broussard, and there is a collective responsibility there. Chris Broussard’s job was to come on and talk about the news of the league, how the league was representing it, and through a series of events he made personal comments which was a mistake.”

I asked Skipper if he spoke to Broussard and the producers of Outside The Lines:

“I had a discussion with everybody. They said, ‘Look, we brought [ columnist] LZ Granderson on to talk from a personal point of view, and we brought Chris on as a reporter and it was a mistake for him to cross the line into a personal point of view there.’ We don’t quarrel with his right to have any personal point of view, although we do assert as a company that we have a tolerant point of view, we are a diverse company, and that does not represent what our company thinks.”

First of all, any time a broadcaster gets uninterrupted air time on a national network to express his personal views, and then less than 24 hours later feels compelled to issue a statement “clarifying” his comments, he should probably be doing something else for a living. Broussard wasn’t hired for his crackpot opinions — they’ve got Skip Bayless for that.

(Bayless sitting at home eating a chalupa: “Hey! How did I get dragged into this?”)

Broussard’s comments, in case you’ve forgotten:

“I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is…. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be … that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.”

He later released a statement in which he wrote: I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today.

Would have been nice to include that in your on-air rant if you thought it was important.

Of course Broussard’s real moment of truth will not come in Skipper’s plush office. It will occur a few years down the road, when everyone will realize in hindsight exactly how short-sighted and bigoted his viewpoint actually was, and his words are still out there, floating in the ether. Poor dope.