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ESPN Guidelines on Gay Athletes Discourage Using ‘Homosexual,’ ‘Sexual Preference’


On his ESPN radio show yesterday, Tony Kornheiser shared the sports network’s guidelines sent out to employees for discussing gay athletes following NBA player Jason Collins’s coming-out earlier this week.

My friend R. J. Moeller at AEI pointed me to the interesting discussion. Kornheiser told listeners that, for instance, employees are encouraged to use the word “gay” instead of “homosexual.”

“They say that ‘homosexuality’ or ‘homosexual’ is used and hurled at people who are gay as a slur,” Kornheiser explained, saying he was unaware of the issue but will use the network’s preferred word.

ESPN has also singled out the term “sexual preference,” saying it wants employees to use “sexual orientation” instead.  Kornheiser said, “I completely understand and agree with this one, 100 percent.” The reasoning, he explained, is that “the mythology of being gay is strictly mythology, that people choose this. The position now — the science position now — is that you are born with this, so preference is not out there.”

Kornheiser also applauded Collins for his decision to come out, but suggested that the event isn’t “as landscape-changing as other people might think it is.”

“I personally think it took great courage to do this, but I also don’t think it’s Jackie Robinson,” he said.


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