ESPN president John Skipper believes that the network made " one mistake" in covering Jason Collins' announcement that he was gay. According to Skipper, who spoke with reporters in New York this week, that mistake involved NBA reporter Chris Broussard's comments about homosexuality during a controversial segment of ESPN's "Outside The Lines." Just hours after Collins became the first active athlete to come out in any major U.S. team sport, Broussard referred to homosexuality as an "open rebellion to God."
"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," Skipper said, via Deistch. "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."
Several hours after Broussard's appearance on the show, ESPN issued a brief statement. While not apologizing for Broussard's comments, ESPN expressed regret that Broussard's personal views became a "distraction." Asked by Deistch if the incident had been addressed in-house, Skipper provided a glimpse of what has transpired at ESPN and made it clear the network does not share Broussard's views.
"I had a discussion with everybody. They said, 'Look, we brought [ESPN.com 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."