- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Following the news this week that Jason Collins had come out as the NBA's first openly gay player, the issue of homosexuality in sports has reached a crescendo. For a while, there has been speculation about when the first NFL player will come out, and Collins' announcement has only heightened the debate and speculation about how that player would be received in NFL locker rooms. To that end, NFL players are being asked for their thoughts on the matter.
This was the case with Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins in a recent interview he did with mlive.com. Cousins' opinion is interesting to me because Cousins is an extremely religious person who doesn't hide his staunch belief in Christianity, and as many of you know, people like that are often uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. Cousins appears to be something of an exception:
“But I think we need to show love to every single person on this Earth,” he said. “Jesus showed love to everybody, and whether it was Mary Magdalene, who was a prostitute had seven demons inside her, he showed love to her, and he didn’t have a problem with her.
“Jesus called on a tax collector, Matthew, to be one of his disciples, and while many Jewish people had a problem with Matthew, Jesus didn’t have a problem with Matthew. What Jesus wanted was for Matthew to grow.
“At the end of the day, anybody in our locker room who is struggling with something and isn’t perfect -- which would be everybody in the locker room -- my attitude would be that I want to show love to them in a way that shows them Jesus, and hope that they can encounter the same love that I encountered from Jesus that saved my life.”
I'm not saying I do or do not share Cousins' religious beliefs, because I don't think that's anybody's business. I just find it refreshing to hear someone applying his deeply religious beliefs in a charitable manner as opposed to a judgmental or intolerant one. If you're going to be all-in on Jesus, as Cousins and many other people in this world are, I think it's a good idea to pay attention to the stuff he supposedly said about being decent to other people, and human beings not being the ones who decide what's the right way and the wrong way for people to live their lives.
I put this out on Twitter earlier today, and a couple of people wrote back saying they had a problem with what Cousins said. Some thought he was comparing a gay person to a prostitute possessed by demons, or suggesting he would somehow help "fix" a gay teammate by "showing him Jesus" and working to turn him heterosexual. But I think that's a rotten way of reading this.
What Cousins is saying is that he wants to treat everyone he meets the same way, no matter who they are, what they do, who they love or what they have going on in their lives. Trust me on this: If you go talk to Cousins, whether you're a teammate, a coach, a reporter, black, white, gay or straight, you're going to hear about Jesus. Whether you like it or not. He just thinks that's the best way for him to help people, and he thinks that everybody could use help getting through their lives, himself included.
Again, wherever you come down on the issues of homosexuality or religion, what Cousins says here is refreshing and worth paying attention to. He's saying we should all treat each other with love and kindness, and help each other out, no matter what. You don't have to have been raised on the New Testament to think that'd be a pretty nice world in which to live.
1hEric D. Williams