The recently out NBA center and his twin brother Jarron will be guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on May 15. Jason Collins became the first openly gay NBA player when he came out in a Sports Illustrated article last week. ABC is cornering the market on Collins: Good Morning America landed the first TV interview with the free agent last Tuesday, and now Kimmel is his first late-night stop. Of course, ABC and ESPN have a lucrative NBA deal — and Kimmel does primetime specials during the NBA Finals — so these tie-ups are no accident. (Can we take bets on Dancing With The Stars yet?) Collins’ story has rippled in other ways throughout the media world, including forcing ESPN to apologize for negative comments made by ESPN’s NBA writer Chris Broussard immediately after the story broke and a botched post from The Daily Beast media critic Howie Kurtz that eventually led to his dismissal.
Chris Broussard became part of the story yesterday with his outspoken comments about NBA player Jason Collins‘ coming-out in a Sports Illustrated column, making the journeyman center America’s first openly gay major sports figure. Broussard, a Christian and a longtime respected NBA beat writer who now works for ESPN The Magazine, called homosexuality a sin during a segment on the network’s newsmagazine OTL discussing Collins’ revelation. Not sure why anyone is surprised that a TV commentator provided commentary — agree or disagree with his take that’s what they pay the guy for, and he won’t be the last to offer an opposing view in this debate — but it prompted an apology from ESPN last night and a clarification by Broussard via Twitter:
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.
It’s the get of the day on the story of the day: ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos has netted the first TV interview with Jason Collins, the veteran NBA center who today became the first active player on a major U.S. sports team to announce that he is gay. The Good Morning America anchor will sit down with the free agent center from the Washington Wizards on Tuesday morning. The GMA interview then will go out on all ABC News platforms during the day. The timing is especially good for Disney-owned ABC in that the May sweep kicked in Thursday and the network is airing the NBA Playoffs along with ESPN, NBA TV and TNT. But there’s a headline-grabbing sidebar to the story for Disney. As the media began to digest the story and its repercussions, ESPN commentator Chris Broussard delivered some eyebrow-raising remarks when discussing the Collins matter on-air. “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that that’s a sin,” he said. “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.” As the flashpoint story inevitably broadens in the coming days and weeks, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how the various media outlets play it. Stay tuned.