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. Scot

    Gotta love those "Christians" !!! HATE is there way of dispersing the gospel just like their "Christian" republican brothers !
    It is sad that these head of the pulpits can preach hate while saying they are doing Jesus's work !

    May 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The "hate mantra" started from nonbelievers who don't care to learn Jesus' truth that will save your soul.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Observer


      Jesus had plenty to say about the s3xual habit of heteros and most of it was bad.

      Please tell us EVERYTHING he said about gays.

      We'll wait.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Observer, His truth can be found online for those that seek. God is never in your thoughts which is why you stay lazy to read His truth and instead, got conditioned to follow the lies of man ...T itus 1:10-16

      May 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  2. Atlanta

    Probably better for Mr. Butler. If they are that narrow minded, they might have wanted to burn a cross on his lawn.

    May 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • jed clampett

      I'm guessing this church was probably in Janesville down in Paul Ryan's district. Janesville is a hotbed of white supremists and fundamentalist christians.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  3. The Anti-Tweet

    Another article on Twits and Tweets. Is this real journalism these days?

    May 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tweet Away

      Get with the times. Journalism is breaking the news on the spot these days via twitter.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tweisenberg

      You really don't understand the issue if think this about Tweeting or Twitter. That's simply a minor detail in a much bigger issue.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  4. I Am God

    Seems HeavenSent and Islam have serious problems and it is quite obvious they don't want to face reality.

    May 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Science

      Are they smater than a 5t grader ?

      Listening to the Big Bang – In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.


      May 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  5. GEE

    Man, it's some ruthless people on here!!!! The main objective is, we are supposed to have our opinion on the story at hand not lashing out at one another..! This show's that we as Americans have a long way to go!!! And I quote "People Destroy What They Don't Understand"!!!!

    May 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • sam

      Meh, it's the comment section on a CNN opinion blog – you can't judge a country solely by its cesspools. Unless logic is not your forte. Then you do.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  6. qs

    Gotta hand it to those writers of the bible....they were quite shrewd in how they predicted that eventually people would stop believing in this nonsense they had created, so they decided to include that prediction in their book as a "prophecy" used to determine when their mythical savior would return.

    The marketing strategy alone that these men came up with to sell their story was ingenius for those times – convince people it's true and is the infallible word of "god" and even centuries later when people finally start wising up to that strategy they can't help themselves but to feel that little sting of religious guilt for even beginning to think that the bible might not be true.

    Clever, clever humans I tell ya! They truly knew in those days how to conquer and enslave peoples' minds while sneakily making those people think it was their belief all along!

    May 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      qs is another who is deceived Matthew 23:1-39.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • oOo

      HS can't even tell us who actually authored Matthew and yet all the troll does is quotes from Gullible's Travels. lol.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • sam

      HS, doesn't it take up most of your day feeding all your cats? Shouldn't you get back to it? Or did the ASPCA finally raid your trailer?

      May 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • qs

      HeavenSent is another who has been deceived BY Matthew.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Pop Gun

      Always amazed that people who believe in the bible
      think that quoting scripture is going to help.
      They sound like babbling idiots.

      Wouldeth ye liketh to suckle me dikith ?
      Like shakespear on drugs.

      They are always the last ones to know how stupid this crap sounds.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  7. GEE

    @ lionlylamb :where in the Bible did you read that Please, let me know...? People always try and quote the Bible and don't begin to know where to find it!!!! Not only that man wrote the Bible, not God and those are not God's words. You will know when the word of God is spoken, because he speaks directly to you himself..! He doesn't have to go through a book of stories to tell you what he wants you to know!!!!! Get Real Before Real Get you!!!!!

    May 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      2 Peter 1:16-21. Pay close attention to 21.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • oOo

      Peter Pan 2:14 At least I know who put my words down. ( J. M. Barrie )

      May 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Pop Gun

      2 Peter 1:16-21. Pay close attention to 21.

      4 Pappa Smurf 3:14-01. pay close attention to Smurfette.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  8. Science

    OK..........NO angels the pope kicked them off the TEAM last year ! and Proff Higgs kicks god off the team !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


    May 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Science

      Oops ............Prof. Higgs.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Genesis 19:15

      May 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Science

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.


      May 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Science

      Was the bible around back then ? By the why HS ............teaching children with facts is the BEST deal yet !

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


      No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

      Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

      No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

      Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

      Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.



      May 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      science, we do teach all His truth which is opposite of the lies you believe,

      May 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Science

      And the truth hurts aye HS...............the nuts are hanging on the big OAK tree on the farm in Wisconsin !

      May 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Observer


      Yep. Don't believe in science. Believe in unicorns and talking animals instead. Believe that the ratio pi is equal to 3.0. Believe that the laws of math and science are all optional.


      May 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Science

      HS .......how many times do you need to go splat bfore you figure it OUT ?

      Gravity is not up for debate !

      BY the way ...................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 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Science

      HS ...........you stuck on Mars stiil ?...........remember........chondrites !

      NASA: Mars could have supported life

      Star Dust we are.


      May 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Pop Gun


      science, we do teach all His truth which is opposite of the lies you believe,


      Tells me everything I need to know about Heaven bent.
      God created everything and god is good.
      Gays are bad, but how can they be bad if god created them ?
      The book says so.
      The book also wants you to kill, and hate,
      but the book says to love and forgive.

      So Heaven sent has decided to pick and choose what he wants to believe.
      Sounds like Rick Santorum.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
  9. Church

    If you don't hate the same people we do, then you aren't welcome here. We've been practicing discrimination for thousands of years and we aren't changing for this guy.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  10. I Am God

    When could a church dictate an individual's personal life or belief. Unbelievable.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • I Am God

      That doesn't give them the right. Sheesh. Troll much?

      May 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • I Am God

      Judging by the fact you can't speak English properly then you really have no clue what you are talking about.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • matty-0

      Mr. Butler should have released the name of the church. Because he did not, the ignorant will remain to be ignorant and nothing will change – by being protected, the people will not learn a damn thing.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • I Am God

      Failed to get an education to I see. Only a fool would deny science.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Crazy

      So Islam troll thinks that Hindus fabricated "evolution"? Wow.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  11. Fundies Gone Wild! They are panicking!


    May 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  12. j

    If they were paying him to speak, they should be allowed to dictate the message he intends to deliver. It's unfortunate that they had to pay him. Although he did refuse the invitation after the fact, he should have volunteered to speak for free.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Debbie

      WHAT??? are you an NRA member? they have very twisted logic like you

      May 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • jmm

      Volunteer for free? To speak for an organization that preaches loves/equality but practices hate? yeah right. Unfortunately modern religion has become a walking contradiction.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Schmoogalicious

      Nobody is disputing the fact that the church can decide who can speak in their building and on what topic (whether they pay the speaker or not doesn't affect this in the slightest). What folks are criticizing is the bigotry and intolerance shown by the church. Moral clause? Do "Christians" like the ones at this unnamed church really consider discrimination against and hatred of gays to be "moral"?

      May 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      if he spoke for free, he could have torn the church and it's elders apart

      even if they pay him, they have no right to dictate what he says

      May 2, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Pop Gun

      Church – I will Pay you to speak about bullying.
      Church – You made pro gay statement.
      Church – I will ignore Jesus.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  13. Demigod Vadik, CA

    F the Church and its BIGOTED ways...

    May 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Caiha

    Irony. They church could really use a talk on bullying.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • lol??

      right, from a parade in the street.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      2 Timothy 4:2-4
      2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

      3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

      4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.


      May 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Observer

      – Matthew 7:12 “Treat others as you want them to treat you. THIS IS WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABOUT.”

      May 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Crazy

      Islam troll thinks Americans are all Hindus. lol.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Observer, Christians tell you His Truth. Nonbelievers tell us satan's lies.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Observer


      Yep. STILL not one word about why the Golden Rule doesn't apply to YOU.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • faith

      – Matthew 7:12 “Treat others as you want them to treat you. THIS IS WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABOUT.”

      "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

      May 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Observer

      "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

      News FLASH from thousands of years ago.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Observer, the golden rule which quotes mostly Jesus Christ's truth was devised and disguised for the nonbelievers to learn His truth. Good to see it worked.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • midwest rail

      If you think it worked for Observer, when will it work for you ?

      May 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Pop Gun

      ***** HeavenSent

      Observer, Christians tell you His Truth. Nonbelievers tell us satan's lies

      I am busting about this.
      His bible is full of warnings about followers being "misled, and deceived,
      but he never expects that the one deceived just might be HIM !!!!!!!

      What is the story ?
      Some battle in heaven, and the bad guys where tossed out.
      Sounds like an episode of Battlestar Gallactica.
      Hey idiots, the good guys got tossed out,
      they lost the war to the bad guys and the battle
      is still going on.

      You bible thumpers are the ones deceived.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  15. biggles

    It is no ones' business.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  16. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    3. See also the From the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”
    "Most scientists who study human se-xuality agree that gay people are born that way. But that consensus raises an evolutionary puzzle: How do genes associated with h-omose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?"

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.
    To wit:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.
    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Galatians 5:16

      [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.


      May 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    enjoy it while it lasts Christians. Another 10 or 20 generations and the human race will look on your God and Jesus the same way as we look on Zeus and Thor and Ra (and santa claus and the tooth fairy) today. What a giggle!

    May 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • lol??

      You had a santa claus? you must have been rich.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>"enjoy it while it lasts Christians."

      So now you sound like Bin Laden and declaring that us Christians are on borrowed time. 🙂

      May 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Pop Gun

      The only thing I will miss is the fun of opening presents.
      Hot chocolate, my family, and the love.
      The rest is BS.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    Without Honey BooBoo or the Kardashians to watch 2,000 years ago, people had to make stuff up to entertain themselves. The Bible is just a collection of the best of those stories. It's like America's Funniest Home Videos from the bronze age. 🙂

    May 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • biggles

      You are a liar

      May 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Observer


      You really shouldn't go around ignorantly calling someone a "liar" when you have ZERO proof that he is lying.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • snopes says

      biggles is false

      May 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Brad Koeven

      I guess you can call the bible a collection of entertaining stories from the bronze but keep in mind that the bible has been around for thousands of years, yes its been translated and retranslated and its lost a lot of meaning in the process but the bible will still be talked about, read, and studied for many more years while Kim Kardashian, and honey boo boo will be forgotten, because the bible inspires people of many creeds: Christians, Muslims, and Jews all believe in the bible and you can't just destroy 2,000 years of influence like that.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Pop Gun

      The Bible is just a collection of the best of those stories....

      Or the worst.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  19. Ed

    Finally, someone saying "no" to parents. He definitely did the right thing.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  20. JDJ

    It's not bullying when you disagree with someone.

    May 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • biggles

      Unless you are a Nazi atheist

      May 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Observer


      Fortunately, Nazis ended as a power decades ago.

      Try to get into the 21st Century. Read a history book.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • ..

      Ha ha ha Nazis were Christians, you foolish piggles.

      May 2, 2013 at 5:43 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.