Former NFL star LeRoy Butler said that the Wisconsin church he was scheduled to speak at canceled his appearance after he expressed his support for Jason Collins, the first NBA player to come out as gay.
"This is what bothers me the most. They said, 'If you ask for forgiveness and remove the tweet and you say something to the effect that you don't congratulate (Collins), then we'll let you do the engagement and get the speaker's fee, and I said I'm not doing that," Butler told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Wednesday.
"Every gay and lesbian person will say 'You know, LeRoy doesn't speak up for the weak or the silenced. He doesn't stand for anything as a man and he did it for money.' Why would you ask me to reduce my integrity like that?"
The former Green Bay Packers safety had tweeted "Congrats to Jason Collins" following the NBA star's coming out as gay earlier this week. Shortly after, Butler received a phone call from the church, which he has not named, asking him to take down his message.
Butler, a Christian, speaks at several churches each year, raising money for the benefit of the church. He said that his decision to post a supportive tweet for Collins was not motivated by religious or political reasons.
"This is a man's personal story. I've always been on the record saying if there was a gay person in the Packer locker room, I would have played with them. All I care about is if you can run and jump, and can you win Super Bowls," Butler said. The Green Bay Packers safety said that he felt the Wisconsin church was committing a form of "bullying" by trying to make him take back his words.
Although Collins has received plenty of support for his decision to come out as gay, including praise from President Barack Obama, some Christians have pointed out that one cannot be both a Christ follower and active homosexual.
"If you're openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I think that's walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ," said ESPN analyst Chris Broussard on Monday.
After Broussard received some criticism for his remarks, many, including televangelist and CBN host Pat Robertson, came to his defense.
"Now, if you don't' want to be a Christian, that's your business. If these media types, these writers, don't want to be Christians, that's their business. If they choose a lifestyle that takes them outside the protection of God, that's fine. That's their business. You can't tell them if they want to go to hell or heaven, that's their business. But don't tell somebody that he can't speak specifically about what the Christian faith says about certain conduct. There isn't anything bigoted about that," Robertson, founder of CBN, argued.