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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. Sam Yaza

    "FYI the fee was 8500$,then I was told if i removed the tweet, and apologize and ask god forgiveness, I can have the event, I said no"

    good for you man,

    May 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Science

      Why speak for money in the first place..................when they are part of that devil's cult ?

      May 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      hay i resent that their not part of "my" cult

      May 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Science

      Too Bad I did not creat ethe fairy in the sky eIther !

      Peace

      May 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Science

      Oops dand thumb............create !

      May 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  2. bribarian

    Why was this f4g going to speak at a church to begin with?

    May 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      butlers not gay, he just supported a man who was.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      First off BIGOT, he is not gay and had you of read the article you would have known that.
      Second, this is about him offering his support to someone who is gay.
      As for speaking at a church, you do realize that member's of the LGBT community do attend...right?? Churches get exposed when they do bigoted things.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam

      Another dumbass troll with no reading comprehension skills. Honey, your mommy is calling – go get your homework done, then go play video games.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      no he should go play video games and put off homework till the morning,.. my i suggest

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8DCHkfgodI

      it involves critical thinking about morality, and stars me, as one of the heroes,...their is no villain, just like in real life their are only heroes.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      + + +

      Matthew 23:29-36
      1 John 2:21-23
      Revelation 21:8

      Amen.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  3. RainyAlaska

    So much for Christian tolerance and acceptance. You don't have to agree with someone's opinion or their tweets but you sure should respect their right to have that opinion. Shouldn't churches love the sinner but hate the sin? No matter what they think that "sin" is. God loves everybody regardless. It's too bad we can't do the same.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      " love the sinner, hate the sin" is not in the Bible.

      Matthew 23:29-36
      1 John 2:21-23
      Revelation 21:8

      Amen.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  4. Willie Houston

    I agree with the Church they have a right to cancel if they don't agree with the speakers position. He may say something to the audience that is outside of there beliefs.. You are not going to convince people who don't believe in the Gay agenda. In addition when you call them names you are also bigots.. So we are all bigots

    May 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • sam

      See, Willie, here's the problem: you think there's a 'gay agenda'. Maybe you heard that in church or n Fox 'news' or from your momma. Regardless, you have no idea what you're talking about, you're just going along with whatever you've been told like a good parrot.

      The 'gay agenda' is to have the same rights everyone else does – not special rights, Willie. The same rights everyone else already has. One of those crazy rights should probably be 'not to be treated like crap by christians'.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 23:29-36
      1 John 2:21-23
      Revelation 21:8

      Amen.
      +++++

      May 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  5. Big_D

    Let me guess, it was a blue eye blond hair Jesus mega church paying thousands for a guest speaker while homeless people are turned away?

    May 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  6. Chuck Vrana

    Wait a minute. So, this Church expects any speaker to agree completely and absolutely with everything for which the church may have an opinion; whether or not the disagreement has any relation to the topic of the speech? And since when is showing compassion and caring towards another human being a demonstration of bad morals? I'm so happy that every member of that church is perfect 24/7. Do they even let sinners in the door?

    May 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • mike watkins

      that's is how most churches work

      May 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

      Matthew 5:29

      Amen.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  7. Big_D

    Didn't the bible have a judge not lest ye be judged part? I guess the Churches don't use that rule any more.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Judging Is Believing.

      Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? (Luke 12:57)

      What is right?

      The statutes of the Lord are right (Psalm 19:8)

      Amen.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Jason B

    I'd have released the churches name, personally. That way people could be fully aware of which church chooses hate over love.

    Welcome to Christianity. Where one of the greatest commands from Jesus was "Love thy neighbor." Unless they're gay, non-Christian, atheist, non-conservative, or in any way think differently than us.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    that's right, your support of g.ay rights, of being humane, has given offense to the oldest hate group in our country: Christian Churches. congratulations defenders of prejudice and h.omophobia.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  10. Here!

    They're using $8500 of donated church funds to have a football give a speech. How about feeding some of the hungry people in your neighborhood. Whose morals are in question here?

    May 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Tom

      All I can say is AMEN! Too many hypocrites . . .

      May 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  11. Guest

    "...I said no."

    If only more people would do the same when it comes to religion....just say no!

    May 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  12. asdf

    The odds are very high it was a mostly black church. It has been disappointing as a liberal to see how bigoted some of black culture can be towards gays when they know more than any the sting of discrimination.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      they're better "christians", by which i mean they follow the bible closely. other christians don't follow the bible closely anymore - which of course is a good thing. christians become better people when they stop following the bible.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Jason

      Bigoted? Give me a break. He was going to speak at a church (house of God) and tweeted his support for a sin that the bible considers an "abomination". It looks like it is well beyond time to chose sides in America. You are either with God or against God. God doesn't recognize shades of grey. For years man has been trying to rationalize sin. Sorry, no matter how many times you say something, it doesn't stop sins from being sins, I don't care how "accepted" they are becoming.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:11 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 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam

      Jason, what a fine, upstanding man of god you are. Most rational people will steer far clear of you, thank goodness. I hope we don't even share a state.

      Does god know you portray him as a scary boogey man, by the way? I wonder if he'd be completely ok with that.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Christians become better people when they stop following the bible.

      ain't that the truth

      May 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      ++

      Matthew 23:29-36
      1 John 2:21-23
      Revelation 21:8

      Amen.

      ++

      May 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  13. jesse

    So it's another story of I have my opinion you can have yours but wait no you can't because you disagree with me.

    Who cares, stop crying. You were asked not to speak now go home and shut your mouth, pretty simple. If you really want to speak call up the GLBT I'm sure they would be happy to host you as a speaker for an event.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeah, if that hate group doesn't want you there, just leave!

      May 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      T itus 1:10-16 teaches fools to be fools.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  14. YeahRight

    Notice how he doesn't reveal the church's name. That leads me to believe that his story is made up & he is just trying to get free publicity for his book.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  15. Over 40,000 sects of insanity

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create more extreme divisions as time goes by, constantly subjecting others in its crossfire.

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    (Thomas Jefferson, from Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

    May 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Over 40,000 sects of insanity

      And by the way, the sect already performing same-sex marriage has over four million members.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Science

      Chomp Chomp ...........in spanish.............education for adults too !

      (EA) FÓSILES, FOSILIZACIÓN Y PALEONTOLOGÍA.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw1cRg9oKTc&feature=player_embedded

      May 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Jason

      You clearly don't understand Christianity. Westboro is neither a Christian church, nor are they Baptists. These are a bunch of half witted morons controlled by Satan's minions. You might be also, I'm not sure.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • sam

      Are you the same Jason that posted eariler about sin and how there is no gray area with god? Then surely you agree with Westboro: god hates fags. Like any good christian should. Come on, now, don't back away when it gets embarassing. What makes you a better christian that they are?

      May 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Over 40,000 sects of insanity

      Jason proves my point. There are extremes and everything in between with little "conformity" that Jefferson mentioned. Only the extremes are just more extreme and there are more sects than in Jefferson's day.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Over 40,000 sects of insanity

      And Jason, you are calling out Westboro as non-Christians. You could just as easily be a member of WELS and calling out the four million members of ELCA in the same way. Most of the major denominations have these extreme conflicts.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    If there's one thing the church can't tolerate, its tolerance.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • just bob

      Amen to that.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  17. HeavenSent

    Jeff's another one blinded by the lies of satan. T itus 1:10-16

    May 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Observer

      Satan was supposedly created by God, who bragged about doing evil himself.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Observer, satan was giving freewill as well. His downfall was the sin of Pride which he blinds his followers with.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Science

      You asked for IT HS = BULL SH_IT !!!

      Science

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

      Science

      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

      Science

      It would be nice......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      February 10, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse

      May 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Must read for nonbelievers T itus 1:10-16, 1 S amual 8:4-9, A cts 9:10-23

      May 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Science

      Chomp Chomp HS..............you lost n space !

      Prehistoric shark captured on film

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mneDhOtVEQw

      May 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • JWT

      There are no must reads in the bible for non-believers. Aesops fables have more value.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 23:29-36
      1 John 2:21-23
      Revelation 21:8

      Amen. ++

      May 3, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  18. DTB

    goblackhawks: "If you tax the church you hurt the poor"

    Hahahah, good one! Oh wait, you were serious. Let me laugh even louder

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    May 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • just bob

      Amen to that... there is big $$$ in god. Tax 'em all.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      T itus 1:10-16, 1 S amual 8:4-9, A cts 9:10-23

      May 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  19. Poolwrecker

    Charging $8500 to speak about bullying? i don't like the church but wow, what a kind man to charge people only $8500 to promote his own book. What a load of crap.

    May 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • YeahRight

      The whole story is fishy.

      He should come clean about it.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • YeahRight

      I will be watching the interview - let's play spot the liar.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  20. goblackhawks

    No one gets the "funny" he is on the Packers ... To all you real bigots .. if you tax the church you hurt the poor. Remember Church's are also used as homeless shelters and the feed the poor ...

    May 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      You can feed the homeless and shelter them without the church and the secular charities that do that don't shove a god down your throat. The only Real Bigots are the ones who believe being gay is wrong and in turn use their religious beliefs to deny equal rights.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Observer

      goblackhawks,

      So you are saying that all the atheists and agnostics who are trashed by Christians supposedly for not helping the poor, actually are by paying the taxes not paid by churches?

      May 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Lies Prevail, seculars follow the lies of satan. T itus 1:10-16

      May 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Observer talks the talk, but refuses to walk the walk. Lies of satan T itus 1:10-16

      May 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      HS: Seculars don't follow your imaginary friends enemy.
      Titus yaddi yaddi yaddi...a book within the Giant Book of Multiple Choice...what are you trying to prove here?

      Your buybull also says to spare the rod, spoil the child-do you beat your kids daily?
      It also says that slavery is fine-how many do you own?
      Are you following it to the exact direction?
      If you're not, then why should we care what the fuck it says??? It is not pertinent in the real world.

      Shouldn't you be on your way back to your nicely padded room???

      May 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • sam

      It's a shame the poor have to mouth all kinds of obligatory words about god in order to be eligible for that help.

      I'm pretty sure most churches have plentiful funds, too.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      TruthPrevails, that's because you blindly follow T itus 1:10-16, 1 S amual 8:4-9, A cts 9:10-23

      May 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • sam

      C'mon HS, you crazy old bat. Don't be lazy. Copy-paste those whole bible quotes right on out here.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 23:29-36
      1 John 2:21-23
      Revelation 21:8

      Amen.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      sam, John 8:44  

      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.

      Amen.

      May 3, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
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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.