Just over two weeks after Chris Broussard, who covers the NBA for ESPN, made controversial comments about the NBA player who had announced that he is gay, the network’s president said it erred in its coverage.
“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,” John Skipper said (via Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch) Tuesday at ESPN’s upfront presentation in New York. “Chris Broussard’s job was to come on ["Outside the Lines"] 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.
“[...] 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.”
The line between reporter and commentator blurred when Broussard gave his opinion on Jason Collins, who had written about being gay in Sports Illustrated, in an “OTL” broadcast. He replied that he believes homosexuality is “walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.” ESPN followed with a statement of support and Broussard later tweeted:
“Today on ‘OTL,’ as part of a larger, wide-ranging discussion on today’s news, I offered my personal opinion as it relates to Christianity, a point of view that I have expressed publicly before. I realize that some people disagree with my opinion and I accept and respect that. As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.”