Wednesday, May 1, 2013
On LeRoy Butler's support for Jason Collins
By Kevin Seifert
Perhaps you're aware of a series of tweets from former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler. They open a can of worms that we don't normally wade into here on the NFC North blog. This week, however, it seems appropriate.
To bring you up to date, Butler tweeted that a Wisconsin church canceled a speaking engagement (worth $8,500) because he had tweeted support for NBA player Jason Collins. Earlier this week, Collins became the first male athlete from a major American professional sport to announce he is gay.
According to Butler, the church gave him the option of keeping the gig if he deleted the tweet, apologized and "ask God [for] forgiveness." Butler said he declined. In a subsequent interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Butler declined to name or provide an approximate location of the church.
A number of us have already discussed this -- quite civilly, I might add -- Tuesday morning on Twitter. Butler is a prominent former NFC North player who has maintained a public profile and has always been willing to utilize his freedom of speech. At the same time, of course, the church involved has every right to operate as it sees fit and under accordance with its core philosophies.
I don't think that a simple tweet of support would threaten the church's theology, especially if it isn't a part of the speech, but I'm nowhere close to an expert on such matters. In the end, the episode is a reminder of how complicated, divisive and multi-layered this issue remains even after Collins' momentous announcement.
The full tweets for those interested: