May 2nd, 2013
12:52 PM ET

Ex-NFL player's support for gay NBA player apparently costs him church appearance

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – LeRoy Butler, a former safety for the Green Bay Packers, is one of many professional athletes to tweet support for Jason Collins, the NBA player who came out as gay this week.

“Congrats to Jason Collins,” Butler tweeted April 29, the day Collins came out in a Sports Illustrated cover story.

But Butler says the four-word tweet cost him a speaking appearance at a Wisconsin church.

He was scheduled to speak at the church (whose name he has not revealed) about bullying and his new book, "The LeRoy Butler Story: From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap." That was until the church, according to Butler, told him he was no longer welcome because of his tweet in support of Collins.

"The pastor called me and that's when we got into the old, the whole religion thing about gay people and things of that nature and the conversation just went back and forth for us a couple of minutes," Butler told Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

After the exchange with the pastor, Butler took to twitter to express his frustration.

Butler later tweeted that “some parents went to the church and complained about my tweet” supporting Collins. The church, according to Butler, said that if the football player apologized, he would be allowed to speak.

"They basically said this, if you apologize, ask God for forgiveness and remove the tweet, you'll be able to do this speaking engagement with the kids," he said. "I won't do that. That's taking my dignity and respect away."

He continued: "I told the pastor, blame it on my mom because my mom brought me up to love everybody."

Butler recently tweeted that the church apologized for the incident and thanked him “for not releasing the church name.”

Butler played 11 years, from 1990 to 2001, with the Packers and helped them win a Super Bowl in 1997. He was a four-time All-Pro selection, the highest honor for a year of work in the NFL, and is credited with inventing the Lambeau Leap, the iconic touchdown celebration in which a Packer leaps into the Lambeau Field stands to celebrate with fans.

As for Butler's stance on gay athletes in professional sports, he said they have "support from straight guys like me that won't judge them."

"If we win a Super Bowl ring, I don't care who you bring to the ring ceremony, I just want to win the ring," Butler said. "That's what it's all about. ... Isn't that what it's all about? Winning the championship? Not who is in my bed when I turn the lights out."

Since retiring, Butler has been active in the Green Bay community, and his Facebook page chronicles appearances and speeches he has given to churches in the area.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (3,002 Responses)
  1. GonzoG

    What book of the New Testament did Jesus say "Hate who I tell you to"?

    May 3, 2013 at 5:18 am |
    • worktolive

      Do not believe people hate gays-just the lifestyle. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Get it? Why is this so hard for gays to comprehend? Christians are supposed to refrain from sin to the best of their ability (with God's help)-the gay lifestyle is a sin.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:35 am |
    • MOCaseA

      @worktolive – In that case why are they attacking the people themselves? Instead of showing compasion, and moral living, they are showing hate and intolerance. You can hate my "sin" all you want, but for you to impose your beliefs on me, without my choice in the matter, not only are you going against your beliefs, you are going against God himself (since by your belief it was God, and not man, who gave us the freedom of choice). It isn't up to YOU to make choices for ME, or force me to only have one choice. It is up to ME to make that choice. Your choice is whether to follow God's guidance and allow us to make those choices.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:42 am |
  2. OpenEye

    This is a real man. Secure enough in himself to stand up for what is right. Not afraid to show love and tolerance, even in the face of certain criticism. Kind of like Jesus (or at least, the stories we're told about the guy they call Jesus). Nothing like a little humanity to bring things into perspective.

    May 3, 2013 at 5:17 am |
    • Whodat4ever


      May 3, 2013 at 5:31 am |
  3. Jubril

    Even though i am not a christian, the good bible has said clearly
    Thou shall not steal
    Thou shall not fornicate
    the good book has been clearly on gays, but the problem with most Christians is that they try to twist its meaning to accommodate their own bad ways and which is why I am not a christian, The church is right not allowing this speaker

    May 3, 2013 at 5:17 am |
    • Whodat4ever

      WOW .....REALLY???? ( This response is for Jubril, not for OpenEye, with whom I agree).

      May 3, 2013 at 5:37 am |
    • Whodat4ever

      The above post was meant for Jubril, not OpenEye, with whom I agree.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:40 am |
  4. DeadKennedys

    That's exactly what I was thinking. Can we go back to some good ole basketball and stay away from who's screwing who or who's gay and who's not. Leave that to the colorful gay world.

    May 3, 2013 at 3:40 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      When they are given equal rights then people will shut up about it.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:57 am |
    • Doc1

      What 'rights' are not extended to gay athletes? This anouncement was not about 'rights', it was about some guy coming out of the closet to the professional world, which I as a sports fan don't care about. Just play basketball and do whatever else it is you do off the court.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:16 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Doc: I know what the article is about. However, it was stated to leave it to the colorful gay world...how exactly is that not stepping on the rights?? It's basically the same as saying: keep it to yourselves, we don't care.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:21 am |
  5. lol??

    Nuthin' like the se*xually challenged to bring out the hate in the race against the creator. Bigot is the chant. Must be a Strong drive. Chimps seem to do OK, BTW.

    May 3, 2013 at 2:27 am |
    • Science

      How many times do you have to go SPLAT to figure it out lol??

      By the way lol?? gravity is noy up for debate !

      Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

      Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

      Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before


      May 3, 2013 at 5:47 am |
  6. Humanist11

    This illustrates how religion seeks to control the minds of its followers. They never allow competing options to be heard because they fear their followers might think for themselves. If they started to think for themselves, they would certainly kick their religion to the curb.

    May 3, 2013 at 2:23 am |
    • Dre

      Exactly, f***ing idiots man

      May 3, 2013 at 2:25 am |
  7. Heisenberg

    Religion at it's finest here. It saddens me that we will never see an world without these fables dictating how people treat one another.

    May 3, 2013 at 2:22 am |
  8. Dre

    One word EVOLUTION. Religion and that book is BULLSH**. Science got us here, I'm tired of seeing close minded sheep who are controlled by religion talk like they know it all. Church is nothing but a business, OPEN YOUR MIND!

    May 3, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • BenGay

      Mosstrates en cuenta de los mavilles nos llevaran al monte de la luna negra! Beware old boy!

      May 3, 2013 at 2:48 am |
    • Dre

      Speak English jack ass and go read a book other than that stupid bible

      May 3, 2013 at 2:52 am |
    • BenGay

      Oh Dre......you have no idea the languages I know. You on the other hand sure sounds like your IQ needs help.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • Dre

      I can careless what languages you speak, that doesn't mean your wise or smart. Maybe you should OPEN YOUR MIND and stop being trapped in that religious mind frame. It's all a lie

      May 3, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • BenGay

      You sound so sure, but you have doubts and you very well know it.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • Dre

      Doubts? I can assure you that there is not ONE doubt in my mind whatsoever! But I'm definitely sure you have plenty of them. I was just like you before so I've been in your position.. but I woke up

      May 3, 2013 at 3:14 am |
    • El Chapo

      Woke up from what? A night of smoking laced weed?

      May 3, 2013 at 3:19 am |
    • Dre

      Lol woke up from that bullsh** religion you all are trapped under but see some people like yourselves will NEVER understand or know the truth of it all and I don't smoke weed

      May 3, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • El Chapo

      I DON'T SMOKE WEED....sure you don't.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:29 am |
    • Dre

      Lol because you smoke doesn't mean everybody else does, genius

      May 3, 2013 at 3:30 am |
    • LaHavana

      All this talk just because some idiot comes out and says "I'm gay" who really gives a fat F....just play basketball and never mind what kind of meat you like. Don't want to hear about it.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:32 am |
    • Don

      Do not confuse religion and The Bible, as they are two very different things. The religions of Christendom have been lying for over 1700 years about what The Bible says for their own selfish gain; greed for money and lust for power. Revelation tells us that very shortly the U.N. will destroy all of the churches.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:44 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Don: The problem is that no-one can know what the true interpretation of the buybull is given how many times it has been translated.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:53 am |
  9. JavaPlain

    If you're gonna go against the word of Christ, might as well go somewhere else. A sin is a sin no matter how much you dance around it.

    May 3, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • Paulwisc

      Nobody's dancing around it, we're just ignoring your irrational and bigoted belief. As it should be ignored.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • Dre


      May 3, 2013 at 2:38 am |
    • Dre

      There's no such thing as sin

      May 3, 2013 at 2:39 am |
    • Connie

      Both of you sound insecure. That's what happens to a lost soul that thinks we came from the monkey. One day you'll understand but you have to grow up first.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • Dave

      Would that be the same "christ" who ordered his gang of thugs to murder anybody who wouldn;t worship him? The guy who (if he'd ever existed) would almost certainly have been gay?

      May 3, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • Observer


      Atheists don't necessarily have to believe in evolution.

      Same for Christians who don't have to believe that God, who came up with original designs like for elephants and giraffes, ran out of new ones and so pretty much just copied an ape to make his greatest creation.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • Dre

      Lol so let me get this straight....we were "created" from dust in the form of god? Lmao at that! It's called EVOLUTION, science. It sounds like that book has turned you into a lost soul not me buddy

      May 3, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • BenGay

      Dave....put down the Mad Magazines dude! Time to wise up. You have no idea when you live in fantasy.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:52 am |
    • Dre



      May 3, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • Jim

      if the Bible's right, and we're created in God's image, why does God need eyebrows or nose hairs? Or a spleen?

      May 3, 2013 at 5:07 am |
    • Jim

      Why does God need an Appendix? We don't even need the thing. What about the Coccyx? Why does God need a small part of a tail? Why does God need hemoglobin? Why doe God need an iris? Does God see in the same part of the electromagnetic spectrum we do? Since He exists outside the physical reality we participate in, why would he need ears to hear sound waves in a gaseous atmosphere? These are things I guess makes me think we made God in OUR image, and not the other way around.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Translation of Connie's post: I don't understand Evolution, therefore god. Sadly that lack of understanding also equates to incest, 2 people and their off-spring to populate the world.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:18 am |
    • Science

      Hey Connie..........rather read the fossil records. from Wisconsin. than the nasty bible...................... education works for

      children !

      First Snapshot of Organisms Eating Each Other: Feast Clue to Smell of Ancient Earth

      Apr. 29, 2013 — Tiny 1,900 million-year-old fossils from rocks around Lake Superior, Canada, give the first ever snapshot of organisms eating each other and suggest what the ancient Earth would have smelled like.


      May 3, 2013 at 6:12 am |
  10. redzoa

    Thank you Mr. Butler for demonstrating your integrity, compassion and tolerance.

    May 3, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • BenGay

      And all the LOVE in the world.....you forgot to mention that.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:16 am |
    • El Chapo

      And all because some idiot comes out and says "I'm GAY" who care....just play basketball and never mind what you kind of meat you like. Don't need to hear about it. Only in AMERICA.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:27 am |
  11. Dave

    Good for him, standing his ground and refusing to bow to the prejudice of a craven gang of bigots.

    May 3, 2013 at 2:10 am |
  12. NINFan

    There is no god and there is no hell.....

    May 3, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • BenGay

      I bet your nights are restless......you sound a bit insecure.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:06 am |
  13. Salero21

    So... he told the pastor to blame it on his mom who raised him that way (in ignorance). Wow... really, really! His understanding and interpretation of love is as twisted as it gets. To love people does NOT means to be an abettor, accomplice and partaker of their wrongdoings. That's just plain ignorance of the Scriptures not love. Well done by the church who cancelled his speech, at least they corrected the mistake of inviting him in the first place.

    May 3, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • Observer


      Yep. Don't be ignorant of the Bible. Bring back slavery.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • tallulah13

      Better a good person in hell than a hateful, bigoted christian in heaven.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:22 am |
    • D

      Solero, you're one of the serious problems this country has. A bigoted, opinionated, uneducated, religious asshole.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • Salero21

      Super ignorant and Super stupid replies from stupid atheists. Can anyone understand now why I have to say that atheism is stupidity in Full bloom? I mean, it just doesn't get any more stupid than what these replies are showing. They speak for themselves.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • Douglas


      We cannot celebrate sin and glorify open rebellion against God.
      Just because it's trendy and cute to twitter about doesn't make it moral or right.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Douglas

      We cannot celebrate sin and glorify open rebellion against God.
      Just because it's trendy and cute to twitter about doesn't make it moral or right.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • Observer


      Speaking of STUPID, the Bible supports slavery and discrimination against women and the handicapped.

      Why not read it SOMEDAY?

      May 3, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • Arias

      You have some serious issues. How is Butler being an aider, abettor, or accomplice by loving people the way they are instead of casting judgment on them like you do even though you're not God?

      Butler is not playing pimp by finding mates for gay people.

      But way to go twisting the whole the around to make you sound like you're high and mighty and holier than thou. You're not.

      People like you really need to get over yourselves and your constant need to try and play God. When you try to do you just make yourself out to be a far lesser man than those you're trying to criticize.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • fred

      You are more intelligent then to make that statement. That is like saying the U.S. Army code of conduct supports scalping Indians. That's right go back to the early days in America and the Army training that supported scalping Indians. Now, get real and stop with the Atheist.com sound bites. It is ridiculous and degrading for you because you know better.
      I suspect you even understand the economy in the days of the Egyptian dominance.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • Observer


      Get serious. Are you saying God is smarter now and so has changed his mind?

      Are you saying that God really opposed slavery but supported it to be politically correct?

      I quote what the Bible says and you say I should be smarter than that. You really didn't think that through.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Douglas


      Right on target. Observer dissembles constantly here.
      He is the King of the non sequitors

      May 3, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Mike

      So you base everything on 2000 year-old+ writings, and accuse others of ignorance....that's cute. Bet you believe the earth is 6000 years old too. Only in America....

      May 3, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Austin

      Duke university raised tuition to pay for se.x change operations for people who want them.. We went from gay "gene" to hormone levels suddenly.........they have to be born that way to justify this mess.

      What a bunch of liberal garbage. ! This has nothing to do with discrimination. This has to do with what is right, and what is wrong.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Douglas


      You can't be serious.

      Waht a flimsy house of cards you live in.

      The Bible condemns slavery...Jesus came to liberate people and he did...
      It is unbelievers like you who are slaves to your own prejudice and selfish desires.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • Observer


      lol. "non sequitors"?

      I quote what the Bible says and you can't handle it.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:49 am |
    • Observer


      Have you actually read a Bible?

      It gives INSTRUCTIONS on how badly you can hurt your SLAVE without any PUNISHMENT.

      Get serious. Get a Bible.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • MOCaseA

      He mom raised him "in ignorance." That isn't what I read here. He said his mom raised him to love and respect everyone. If loving and respecting everyone is "ignorant," then I'm glad I'm one of the "ignorant" because I would surely despise being enlightened but filled with hate.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:50 am |
    • Jesus freaker


      How about reading a book sometime? Perhaps you can start with the Bible. There you can learn something about that worthless evil s o b god you so adamantly defend.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:28 am |
    • Jim

      Hail, hail, fire and snow, call the angel, we will go, far away, for to see, friendly angel come to me.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:13 am |
    • Science

      Doogie, fred amd sally ............all sitting in a tree..............K-I-S-S-I-N-G .....how sweet ......befoe they go splat !

      By the way how many times you going to splat before you 3 figure it out ?

      Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

      Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

      Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before


      May 3, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • Science

      And by the way doogie, fred, and sally gravity is not up for deabte !

      No fairy in the sky !

      May 3, 2013 at 5:58 am |
    • Science

      Oops............... debate.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • Science

      By the way thanks for the help fred. doogie amd sally bill too !

      In fact Bill here it is copied and pasted here ok !

      Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.


      April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

      May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

      May 3, 2013 at 6:18 am |
  14. Da'rrell

    Congrats? What the hell is everyone congratulating him for?

    May 3, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      For having the courage to be honest in the face of all the hateful, ignorant bigots, many of whom call themselves christians.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • fred

      Aw shucks you just painted a class of people with the same broad brush. Guess we have an old tribal instinct that makes us group people into us and them so that wars can result to keep the population in check.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • JavaPlain

      In the liberal world, anything goes to get a "congratulations" out of simply nothing. Hug a tree! Congratulations! Hug a bear....oh wait, a bear can and will kill you just like that moron in Alaska.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • Dre

      Man wrote the bible. Only close minded people follow a stupid book full of bullsh** telling you what you can and cannot do in order to be in paradise in the afterlife.. lol are you serious?! What a bunch of idiots

      May 3, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • Observer


      In the conservative world of HYPOCRISY, you pick on gays while ignoring that there are FAR FAR MORE Christians who commit adultery by divorcing and remarrying (unless the previous spouse already was an adulterer) than there are TOTAL numbers of gays and lesbians.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • Lobo

      @Dre...Dude you sound ANGRY....maybe you should read the Bible and set your mind at ease. The devil is making you uneasy.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • Dre

      Lol another sheep whom is controlled by a book of BS and no I'm not angry, I'm very happy. I've read the bible and don't plan on reading it ever again, maybe you should OPEN YOUR MIND someday it's really refreshing

      May 3, 2013 at 2:47 am |
    • BenGay

      @Dre....You may have read a book but it sure doesn't sound like you read a Bible. You're in denial DUDE, that's okay you'll grow up one day.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:57 am |
    • Dre

      All I can do is laugh at the oblivious like yourself lol you have NO idea dude. You're living one big fat lie

      May 3, 2013 at 3:00 am |
    • Dre

      I was just like you before but I found the truth in it all...maybe, hopefully one day you too will find out, just maybe...

      May 3, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • El Chapo

      I remember that idiot hugging bears in Alaska. And then he got munched on. Poor bear, he ate the wrong meat.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:22 am |
    • Referee

      But keep playing

      May 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
  15. biggles

    God hating Nazis expect real people to buy their bull crap. They are so incredibly stupid.

    Skull collapsing big bill dehaven?

    May 3, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Observer

      Still not bright enough to know Nazis were last significant 60 years ago?

      Recommendation: read "History for Dummies".

      May 3, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      Obvious troll is obvious. And rather boring.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      The Nazis were not "god hating". Try reading "Mein Kampf" or looking at Hitler's speeches. You'll find that Hitler and the Nazis were, in their own words, "doing the work of our Savior". Might I suggest a history class or two when you finally make it out of grade school?

      May 3, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • Ben

      Hitler wrote his books on his own beliefs and point of views. Not on what is written in the Bible. Here's a suggestion, go to Bible studies when you get a chance.

      May 3, 2013 at 2:36 am |
    • Mirosal

      Ben, I spent over a decade trpaped within the prison walls of religious school. I know what your book says, and I know the history of Christianity quite well. It did NOT take long at all for the slogan "Convert or DIE" to become the mantra of the church.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:37 am |
  16. Shawn Blumenfeld

    you are a great friend and a real man. "god" loves you loads!

    May 3, 2013 at 12:53 am |
  17. David Scott

    everyone...START HATING ALL christian churches THAT PROMOTE HATE.

    May 3, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • Max

      No need to hate anyone, just avoid them. Bigotry thrives when good people go along with it instead of showing their displeasure. Just stop hanging around with bigots, even if that means leaving your church.

      May 3, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Salero21

      Oh here we go again! How much more hypocritical can someone get? So you want to promote hate, because in your pea brain calling things by their name is promoting hate.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • biggles

      Name a dozen

      May 3, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  18. David Scott

    IT MUST BE ONE OF THOSE SO CALLED christian churches....they seem to believe GOD hates everyone except them....
    they will all go straight to hell...where they belong!

    May 3, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Max

      I'd say too bad there isn't a Hell, but nobody deserves that. Only a sick mind would even allow a place like Hell to exist.

      May 3, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • biggles

      Nah. Not everyone. Every other one and you

      May 3, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • biggles

      Nah. Not everyone. Every other one and you. Lol

      May 3, 2013 at 3:38 am |
  19. jorline


    May 3, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • Cain

      Collins Fudge Packer

      May 3, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Observer


      Grow up.

      May 3, 2013 at 12:48 am |
  20. Curt29

    This is an eye opener. People need to take a deep look into the values of the organizations they support.

    May 3, 2013 at 12:22 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.