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. STFU

    lion, nothing comes out that is straight from you lion, you're behaving like a mosquito wanting to bite its unwary prey

    May 3, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  2. I Am God

    HeavenSent you seem to have some serious problems. You and most of the posts I've seen you do have persecuted those who do not wish to believe in God. You believe we will go to hell but how do I go to hell when I don't believe in it?

    May 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      HS is gonna pull some buybull verse out of her ass here...be prepared.

      HS: What is the buybull verse again that tells us about being fools or whatever?? C'mon you know you wanna use it...humor us-it's about all you're useful for, so please keep it up. A day would not be complete without reading your delusions.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Science

      Hell is next to Wisconsin ..............I have been there..................Hell MI USA !...........so HS can go there too !!

      May 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

      John 8:44

      Matthew 23:29-36
      1 John 2:21-23
      Revelation 21:8
      T itus 1:10-16
      1 S amual 8:4-9
      A cts 9:10-23


      May 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Science

      Thanks for the help HS !!!

      May 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      HS: Is there a daily scripturw hotline that you call? I ask because yesterday you repeated some passage repeatedly from Titus and today you're posting the these ones non-stop...it's the broken record syndrome.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Proverbs 23:9   Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.


      May 4, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  3. bikermiker

    Well, let's see who would be the better role model for the kids – a religious zealot who is intolerant of anyone who doesn't believe/think exactly like they do OR a very successful, honest, hardworking and articulate person who just happens to be gay. I can see where that is a real head scratcher – not!!!

    May 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • sam

      Yes, faith, it's a perfect description of you.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  4. Dick Delson

    what is there for you to apologize for? I'm straight, but some of my friends are gay. So?

    May 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • sam

      Seems like the church may have felt that just congratulating a gay person is full acceptance of being gay. I guess. It's a stretch. Guess they don't like that type of thing.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  5. Jady Lady

    I find it ironic that he was supposed to speak about bullying.

    May 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Akira

      It is a bittersweet symphony, isn't it?

      May 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • sam

      faith and biggles are the same idiot poster, fyi.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Science

    Everthing HS posts is BS...................HS is on a rampage !

    May 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

      John 8:44


      May 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • sam

      HS, did the ASPCA raid your trailer yet, and take all those cats? You never said.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Science

      E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas....................numbers do not lie or sin !!!

      SPLAT !!!

      HS is really BS..............or I can puke on the forum for you HS !!!

      May 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • STFU

      HS, can you stop quoting the bible or quran? I like to hear your thoughts, not what other people said or wrote.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • sam

      I think these are the only thoughts she has that are coherent. Otherwise it's some rambling paranoia about 'Scotty'.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      "Stir It Up" is a song composed by Bob Marley in 1967, written for his wife Rita, and first made popular by Johnny Nash. Nash's recording hit the top 15 in both Britain and America in 1972.


      May 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      STFU, Christians are suppose to quote Jesus. Who better to listen to than He who had His truth scribed.

      God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

      Romans 3:4


      May 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Akira

      What possible relevance does the little mini-bio of "Stir It Up" have?
      Bob Marly was awesome, mon.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • STFU

      let me ask you something HeavenSent, when you Christian folks talk to your kids, wives, husbands, parents, do you talk normal or quote what Jesus said to each other?

      May 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      STFU, I think you're on to something there. Pass the Lot's wife please.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • sam

      If anyone is ever desperate enough to wade through all those cats and put a bag over her head, she probably shouts bible quotes in bed too.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  7. I Am God

    I find it hilarious that religious folks on here cry persecution yet they are the ones persecuting others.

    May 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      Welcome to the Belief Blog.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Heap Big Mentor shoes to fill-up!

      May 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; [and] a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

      Proverbs 17:4


      May 3, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • sam


      May 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • faith


      May 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      sam, this is for all the carnal minded that lust in the flesh and covet.

      Romans 7:7

      7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. KJV


      May 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • maine1

      just so everyone knows SAM does not work nor has he/she ever. He/She spends their entire day on these blogs putting people down. His/Her goal is to make people feel as pathetic as He/She does. Still lives at home with Mom and Dad.

      May 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • sam

      Hot damn!

      May 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • sam

      maine1, are you actually marine1 from earlier? Because this is still the exact same 12 year old bullshit you were up to before. You have to do better than "YUK YUK I TOTLY INSULTD U, I SED U LIVE W/YR PARUNTS."

      Where are your big boy pants?

      May 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  8. pjusa

    I like Leroy but he should have read the fine print.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  9. Ruben V.

    this is exactly what make Christians look bad. an intolerant church and pastor. i attend a non-denominational church and i would immediately go looking for another church if this happened.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • A sermon you'll never see at Reuben's church

      Mat 7:19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

      Mat 7:20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

      Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

      Mat 7:22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'

      Mat 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

      May 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • A sermon you'll never see at Ruben's church

      Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • sam

      @A sermon – here's more irrelevant BS, too:

      Leviticus 11:10 – And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which [is] in the waters, they [shall be] an abomination unto you.

      Don't get caught at Red Lobster.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  10. Vladimir Putin

    You foolish Amerikkans don't realize the plans" Mr. I can be more flexible" has for you do you. Just listen to his own words:
    "We cannot continue to rely on our military....We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded"

    May 3, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Akira

      You were nominally funnier as "His panic".

      May 3, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Nikita Kruschev

      I told you we would defeat you from within...Obviously, your president doesn't think your military full of H0m0s6ssxuals are "reliable" any more. Too bad.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • chuck Young

      So from what Vladimir the stupid this is Obabm's fault that gays exist? What the hell does that have to do with what you said in the first place. If you dont like this country please tell me where you would rather live and I will glady pay your moving expenses.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    Let's talk about Horus from 3000 BC (Jesus is a copy of Horus), or Attis from 1500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Attis), or Mithra from 1200BC (Jesus is a copy of Mithra), or Krishna from 900BC (Jesus is a copy of Krishna), or Dionysus from 500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Dionysus) .... or any of the dozens of other gods predating the bronze age book character Jesus who were born of a virgin on Dec 25, traveled as a teacher, performed miracles, was killed and then resurrected.

    You Christians are not even original! What a joke!

    May 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • In other words

      lol?? (Fingers in ears) "la la la la la la la"

      May 3, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Honey Badger Don't Care!

    Every time you maestrobate god kiIIs a kitten.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • jim

      this from the one who criticized my spelling earlier. had me fooled as someone who knew something. my mistake again. j

      May 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • sam

      It was a joke, jim. Keep waiting for your chance to get even, though, I'm sure that'll get you far.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • jim

      sam, once again you have no idea what is going on. I was referring to another post between honeydope and myself earlier while you are still watching george carlin and.playing maestro.j

      May 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • sam

      jim, once again you're acting like a little bitch and trying too hard to get the upper hand. It's sad.

      May 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  13. Vladimir Putin

    I won't allow France or Amerikka to adopt Russian orphan because I won't allow them to end up mentally screwed up in one of your g^y "families".

    May 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  14. Gene Belcher

    Just another reason why #36 will always be one of my favorite Packers.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  15. Chicadow

    Congratulations to Mr. Butler, acting as an absolute professional, not stooping to the level of those who have in fact tried to bully him. We'd be better off if more of us followed his lead. Well done!

    May 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  16. jmackey

    No matter what one chooses there are always consequences – right or wrong, to our actions. This guy decided he needed to voice his opinion on the subject on social media and is now experiencing the consequences of that choice ... pretty simple.

    There is also something known in the public speaking/relations realm of "know your audience" ... how did he think a church might respond for his need to voice himself?

    May 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • sam

      The church must have known its audience, too...but they're very grateful to not be ID'd since they of course have very firm beliefs but can't own up to them.

      Because there might be consequences.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • jmackey

      I agree with you – for a church [or anyone] to speak their convictions they must be ready for the consequences of that choice ... this church should as well.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Jim

      Why is this his fault? He put his name on it and said it and stuck to his opinion, why does the church hide if they are confident in their belief?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Akira

      It's not his fault. Mr. Butler took the high road. He won't be suffering from the consequences; he doesn't care. This can only help him, not hurt him.
      The church was trying to save face by trying to blackmail him into removing the tweet and apologize. (For what? Supporting a friend?) Although they have every right to let speak whom they please, this kind of behavior may backfire on them.

      Lol??: precisely what is Gaydom: a destination you've visited?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    When did I realize I was God?

    Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized that I was talking to myself ...

    May 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • jmackey

      Wow, another line that has been 'cut and copied' ... good for you for being a good sheep.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG


      May 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Peter O'Toole

      That's what I said.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      cutting and copying is just like quoting bible verses. 🙂

      May 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • jmackey

      Have you seen me cut and paste Bible verses?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I haven't seen you do anything. Nor have you ever said anything. Keep trying though.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      Only cuz you don't know the bible or how to use a computer well enuf.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Akira

      Who said Dyslexic c/p his?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • sam

      jmackey...it's too ironic that you're calling anyone else a sheep. Unbunch your panties.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • jmackey

      @ Pole ... you might be surprised what I know, but why would I speak about something [scripture] to someone who doesn't understand or get it or care to get it? Hey, if you want to talk about God and scripture I'd love to go down that road with you.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      D doggie,

      "As" gods are we all! All are but buildings whose husbandry is by God's powers that be! The very Godly inhabit most of the husbanded buildings which are our bodies.

      Luke 17:21

      1Corinthians 3:9

      May 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Science

      E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.............the ark has sunk lol??

      May 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • .

      Can you explain who the hell is talking in that verse, cuz it looks like more than 2 peeps....ya catty bitch lol??....

      May 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @jmackey ... I'd rather talk about Horus from 3000 BC (Jesus is a copy of Horus), or Attis from 1500 BC (Jesus is a copy ofAttis), or Krishna from 900BC (Jesus is a copy of Krishna), or Dionysus from 500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Dionysus) .... or any of the dozens of other gods who were born of a virgin on Dec 25, traveled as a teacher, performed miracles, was killed and then resurrected.

      What a crock!!!

      May 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      I like to cut and paste. Thank God this is in the Bible or Christians might hink it is perfectly fine to abuse people with disabilities.

      You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
      Leviticus 19:14

      May 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  18. KateMae

    Count me among those who want to know the name of that bigoted church and its closed-minded parishioners and leaders.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • jmackey

      Why are those 'close-minded' ... because they don't agree with your opinion?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • JJC

      Just pick any church, you'll find the same thing

      May 3, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • sam

      @jmackey – whose opinion? The church told the guy he needed to delete his tweet and apologize to god if he wanted to speak there.

      All for congratulating his friend.

      That's not a difference of opinion. That's asshole behavior. Why are you defending it? No, seriously, where's your dog in this fight?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • jmackey

      'my dog in the fight" ... I don't like when people generalize or stereotype out of ignorance like this poster did.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      jm. What is the stereotype? The church is demonstrably bigoted and its leaders demonstrably closed-minded.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • jmackey

      'In Santa" ... so your credible research is where – sources please? I'd even take that you've been to ever church and have observed this first hand.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Akira

      Kate's post isn't close-minded...she expressed a desire to know the name of the church. So what?
      The whole thing with me is that "I was told if i removed the tweet, and apologize and ask god forgiveness, I can have the event, I said no,— "...effectively rather like blackmail...and that Butler's platform for his talk is bullying. That is amusing.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      biggles, If that is a response to me I said "the" church in reference to the one in the article. But I don't think billions of christians have the same beliefs.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      jm, So you're saying that what happened in this church is not bigoted and is not close-minded?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam

      jmackey – you like it just fine when someone posts generalizations about gays or atheists. Try again.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  19. Rooscow

    It is profoundly saddening to watch this perversion of Christianity blatantly being used to justify bigotry. It is no wonder that religion is becoming more irrelevant each and every day as small minded people hide behind their misguided beliefs.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  20. Seth

    That Pastor needs to accept the fact that the world is changing and that some made up God doesn't care if someone is gay or straight.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      If you want to be part of the club, then you have to be willing to enforce specific scriptures and ignore other scriptures. It's what God expects.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
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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.