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Posts tagged ‘ESPN’

Boehner’s DC Landlord Lobbies for Tanning Industry.

Image: Boehner's DC Landlord Lobbies for Tanning Industry

By Sandy Fitzgerald

House Speaker John Boehner may be perpetually tan, but he doesn’t have a tanning bed in his Washington D.C. apartment — which he rents from a lobbyist for the American Suntanning Association.

“There is not nor has there ever been a tanning bed in the residence!” Boehner’s landlord, lobbyist John Milne insisted in an email Tuesday to The Daily Caller.

Boehner, who has insisted for years that his healthy hue comes from spending a lot of time outdoors and not baking in a tanning bed, has longtime ties to the tanning industry lobbyist.

He started renting Milne’s apartment in 2006, reports The Washington Post, when he was first elected Speaker of the House, a move that raised some eyebrows because of Milne’s lobbyist career.

When Boehner first started living at the apartment, Milne’s clients included restaurant chains and health insurance companies who hired him to lobby on issues tied closely with Boehner’s House position, including minimum-wage increases, tax breaks for small businesses, and tax-free savings accounts for insurance costs, the Post reported in 2006.

But since then, the American Suntanning Association contracted with lobbying firm mCapitol, where Milne works, for services this year.

Boehner’s camp has denied for years that Milne lobbies him on any issue. However, the Indoor Tanning Association PAC donated $5,000 to Boehner in 2011, according to records.

Several other lawmakers received contributions from the tanning PAC, including one other perpetually suntanned Republican, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, The Daily Caller reports.

The Indoor Tanning Association protested a 10 percent sales tax on tanning bed services that came as part of Obamacare, complaining the tax causes problems for tanning services or companies that offer tanning beds as part of gym memberships.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Fired for Same-Sex Marriage Stance, Craig James Takes Legal Action Against Fox.


Craig James
Former ESPN and CBS broadcaster Craig James says he was fired because of his public stance on same-sex marriage. (Fox)

Former ESPN and CBS broadcaster Craig James has criticized Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW) for firing him because of his public stance on same-sex marriage, and he has gotten lawyers involved.

Fox Sports Southwest announced on Aug. 30 that James would join its Fox College Saturday college football analysis team. The former Southern Methodist University and NFL player was to be teamed with Erin Hartigan and former NFL quarterback Tony Banks on Saturday postgame shows, in addition to appearing in some segments of Fox Sports Southwest’s Big 12 live wrap-up.

Though his first day on the job—Aug. 31—went well, FSSW General Manager Jon Heidtke called James on Sept. 1 to inform him he had been fired. According to Breitbart, Heidtke—who also hired James—said a higher-up in the network had been made aware of his comments about same-sex marriage during James’ unsuccessful 2012 run for the Senate.

“I was shocked that my personal religious beliefs were not only the reason for Fox Sports firing me but I was completely floored when I read stories quoting Fox Sports representatives essentially saying that people of faith are banned from working at Fox Sports,” James told Breitbart News. “That is not right and surely someone made a terrible mistake.

“I have worked in broadcasting for 24 years and have always treated my colleagues with respect and dignity regardless of their background or personal beliefs,” James continued. “I believe it is essential in our business to maintain professional relationships with people from a diverse background and have tolerance for those of different beliefs. I have never discussed my faith while broadcasting and it has never been an issue until now.”

James was asked about same-sex marriage in an April 2012 primary debate. He replied, “People choose to be gay. … I think it’s a choice. I do. Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, that’s done. And God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions. And in that case right there, they’re going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”

James also opposes abortion. His positions on both issues adhere to the Texas Republican Party platform.

“At Fox Sports we respect all points of view, and despite reports to the contrary, the decision to no longer use Craig James in our college football coverage was simply because he was not a good fit for Fox Sports,” reads a statement regarding James’ dismissal.

“Mr. James, while both experienced and knowledgeable, is a polarizing figure in the college sports community,” the statement continues. “Regrettably, the decision to use him was not properly vetted, and as a result he will no longer provide commentary on Fox Sports Southwest’s college football coverage.”

Liberty Institute sent a letter to Fox Sports officials Tuesday on James’ behalf, demanding his immediate reinstatement.

“The decision to terminate Craig James because of Mr. James’s religious beliefs is a severe violation of Mr. James’s religious liberty … and an affront to all Americans who cherish that bedrock principle of American freedom,” the letter says.

It continues, “If you refuse to reinstate Mr. James, millions of Americans will be left with the impression that you do not respect religious liberty and Liberty Institute will be forced to pursue subsequent legal options.”



Five Marks of Complacency.

Dr. James Emery White

One of the benefits of doing a fair amount of traveling and speaking is that you gain a sense of what plagues churches that aren’t experiencing the growth, or ministry effectiveness, they long for.  Whether hallway conversations, question and answer sessions, or dialogue with leaders and their teams over a meal, big themes become pretty clear.

For example, it’s clear to me that one of the most prevalent afflictions might be termed a church’s “culture of complacency.”  Complacency has to do with self-satisfaction, a sense of contentment regarding the state of things.

And it all starts with complacency in a leader.

Now, most leaders would say, “I am anything but complacent!”

I know.

That’s the problem.  No one thinks they are complacent.

So consider the following five signs that you might be more complacent than you think:

1.       Far Too Easily Satisfied.

When you are complacent, you are easily satisfied with incremental growth and minor achievements.  Such things can be heralded as “big wins” and seen as an affirmation of effectiveness, but it rings hollow when they are marginal at best.  If your big win of the year was new carpet in the vestibule, then your big win was,


Sorry, but that’s not much of a kingdom hill.

2.       Quick to Make Excuses.

When you are complacent, you are quick to offer all kinds of reasons about why you are not growing, why you cannot do anything new, why “that” wouldn’t work, why…you get the point.  Challenges are allowed to become obstacles, obstacles are allowed to become barriers, and barriers are allowed to become excuses.

It is all too easy to hide out behind such excuses as a reason for your acceptance of the status quo.

3.       Never Enough Time.

When you are complacent, there is the veneer of activity and busyness, but it is seldom strategic.  Yet the facade of meaningful activity becomes the means by which to excuse what could, and should, be done.

More often than not, your forty or more hours per week are spent doing what you enjoy, and what gives you the most strokes, but not necessarily what advances the church most strategically.  But, since time is being filled, it is easy to dismiss using it in other ways.  You tell yourself there simply isn’t enough of it.  Then you keep spending it the way you always have, and being where you’ve always been.

Which, if you are complacent, is perfectly fine.

4.       No Longer Teachable.

When you are complacent, you resist being “pushed” or “challenged.”  In fact, you denounce such pushes or challenges, usually in the name of some superior sounding reason tied to trivial theology or denominational distinctive.

Even worse is when you reject new ideas based on your supposed “experience” or “knowledge” as a seasoned leader.

Translation?  Pride.

I’m not saying you don’t go to conferences or read books – you could be a book/conference “junkie” – this is about openness to rethinking where you are and how you’ve done things.  And even more, once you get a viable new approach or idea, having the tenacity to try it.

Too often there seems to be an undertone implying that trying something new is an admission of being “wrong” in the past.  So you don’t implement anything substantively new, and cling to the old ways to protect ego.

5.       Content with Early Success.

The final mark of complacency is when you have had a measure of success, and it is proving to be enough.  Perhaps you were a church plant, and you finally break the 200 barrier.  Or buy land.  Or build a building.  Maybe it’s when you finally go multi-staff, multi-service, or multi-site.

You can reach a certain level of success that pretty much fleshes out your initial vision.  What then?   More may be on the line than you have realized.  You’ve stopped dreaming, which means you’ve stopped pushing.

A year or so ago, I remember watching ESPN at the gym where I work out.  There was an interview with Mike Krzyzewski who was once again going to coach the men’s Olympic basketball team.

He was asked a lot of different questions, but the one that stood out to me was about LeBron James finally winning his first championship with Miami, and how he might compare to Michael Jordan.

Coach K said, and rightly so, that there was no comparing anyone to Michael.  But then he said that the real question is how finally winning a championship would affect LeBron.

Would it “quell a fire,” or “light a bonfire?”

Someone like James had craved a title for so long – now that he had it, would he hunger for more, or be satisfied and stop trying as hard as he did before?

Would it be a catalyst, or would it make him coast?

Far too many let the fires die.

Okay, confession time.

Over thirty years of ministry, I have had seasons of complacency.  I wrote easily of these five marks because I’ve manifested all five marks.  But each and every time, if and when the complacency was broken, it was for one reason.

Realizing it.

So have you been a bit complacent of late?

Maybe now you know.

And that’s a good thing.

James Emery White

Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book isThe Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

Keith Olbermann, Craig James and the Shocking Example of Double Standards.

Michael Brown
Dr. Michael Brown

So this is what our society has come to. Within a 10-day period, sportscaster Craig James was fired by Fox Sports for comments he had made against homosexuality during a political campaign last year while Keith Olbermann was lauded for his 9-minute anti-Russia, pro-homosexuality rant on ESPN. The double standards are as glaring as they are shocking.

As reported on, a leading gay website, “Keith Olbermann opened his ESPN show last night with a scathing rant against Russia’s antigay laws and the International Olympic Committee’s response to calls for a boycott of the Winter Games in Sochi.

“Olbermann’s nine-minute tirade brilliantly pointed out the ridiculousness of recent comments by President Vladimir Putin—who has tried to claim Russia’s so-called gay propaganda law is not homophobic.”

But that’s just the beginning. The column goes on: “Olbermann also highlighted the frightening similarities of the political climate surrounding the upcoming Winter Games regarding LGBT people and attitudes against other groups of people during the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin,” pointing to America’s pulling Jewish athlete Marty Glickman from the team.

What was the result? According to Olbermann, “Within three years Hitler was invading Czechoslovakia while America had an official policy of neutrality, and within five years Hitler was in mid-genocide.”

Has Olbermann been disciplined for this? Publicly corrected? Censured in any way? (And remember, this was on a national ESPN show.) Not a chance.

Yet in April of this year, the perfectly acceptable comments from Chris Broussard on ESPN, responding to a direct question about Jason Collins, who had just come out as gay, drew a firestorm of criticism and controversy. Why the glaring double standard?

A Christian like Chris Broussard gets in very hot water for saying that he questions how Jason Collins can practice homosexuality and be a Christian at the same time (a position that is about 2,000 years old)—and this in a brief interchange where he was asked for his views directly—yet Keith Olbermann can go on a 9-minute overstated rant and there’s hardly a word uttered about it (other than praise on gay websites).

Rhetoric like Olbermann’s was completely over the top, regardless of how one views Russia’s ban on the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” along with other laws against “gay propaganda.” (For the record, while I absolutely deplore and renounce all acts of violence against those who identify as LGBT, it is fair to ask what is so bad about a ban against the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.”)

And can Russia’s recent laws really be compared to Hitler’s genocidal acts against 6 million Jews (among others)? Where is the outcry over Olbermann’s remarks?

As for Craig James, he was a college football standout and an NFL Pro-Bowler, a man praised by Fox Sports Southwest Executive Producer Mike Anastassiou as a “talented broadcaster who I’ve admired throughout his career.”

Anastassiou added, “His knowledge of college football and the experience he brings as an analyst will be a tremendous asset to our coverage.”

But immediately after being hired by this regional Fox outlet, James was fired because of comments he made during his political campaign last year. Yes, “after one day on the job—Fox gave James the boot for his conservative views on marriage. And here’s the kicker: He made the comments not at the sports desk but during last year’s Senate campaign!”

What exactly did James say? In answer to a direct question during the campaign, he expressed his opposition to same-sex “marriage,” explaining that he didn’t believe anyone was born gay (and therefore living a gay lifestyle was a choice) and stating, “They are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”

As reported by Sports Illustrated, “Fox Sports executives were not happy with the hire by the regional network, according to sources, and the hire had not been fully vetted at the highest levels of Fox Sports management.”

According to a Fox spokesman, “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”

Come again? In the workplace, he would not be allowed to say he opposed gay marriage? He would not be allowed to say he didn’t believe people were born gay? He would not be allowed to say that practicing homosexuals would have to answer to the Lord for their actions (as would a whole lot of heterosexuals as well, based on James’ beliefs)?

Worse still, James had not made those comments in the workplace but rather during a political campaign. Yet he loses his job because of this?

So, in today’s upside-down world, if you have ever publicly expressed your disapproval of homosexual practice and your disagreement with the redefinition of marriage, you are not welcome as a sports broadcaster—yes, sports broadcaster, not political commentator—but if you compare Putin’s laws against “gay propaganda” to Hitler’s genocide of the Jews, you get a national platform on ESPN.

The scariest thing of all is that Olbermann’s defenders will be seen as enlightened and tolerant while James’ defenders will be seen as bigoted and intolerant. The double standard continues.



Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown onFacebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

NY Times’ Nate Silver Moving FiveThirtyEight Blog to ESPN.

Nate Silver, the New York Times statistician whose accurate projections of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections brought him national recognition, is moving his FiveThirtyEight blog to ESPN, employees at the Walt Disney-owned company told The Times on Friday.

Silver is expected to have a wide-ranging role at ESPN, the employees told the Times. Besides writing and crunching numbers, he will most likely be a regular contributor to “Olbermann,” the late-night ESPN2 talk show hosted by Keith Olbermann that premieres at the end of next month.

In political years, he will contribute to ABC News, which also is owned by Disney.

Both Silver and an ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment late Friday — but the employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the deal could be announced as early as Monday, the Times reports.

Silver’s three-year contract with the Times is scheduled to expire in late August.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon

Great Coaches (of Men) Lead the Way to Jesus.

High school football coach

I love sports films. The films I love the most are the ones where you get to see the relationship between a coach and a player.

There is something amazing about a coach calling a young man to a level of greatness he did not know existed. A recent favorite is a behind-the-scenes documentary by ESPN chronicling the Ohio State Buckeyes. Getting to see Ohio State’s new head coach, Urban Meyer, lead his team is extremely inspiring.

Meyer excels at getting young men to believe there is more in them than they ever knew. He constantly reminds the young men he leads, “It’s so easy to be average; it takes a little something to be special.”

You can see him pry into these young men’s souls when he leans forward and says, “What is in you? We are gonna find out.”

We, as men, need that man in our lives who will look in our eyes and call us to greatness. Why? Because we are prone to passivity. We are prone to mediocrity. This is nothing new.

We see the first man God created resort to passivity while his wife, Eve, was tempted and led astray in the Garden of Eden. I am personally very aware of this. I feel the temptation to be passive or mediocre when I get home from a long day of work and my family needs me. Or when I have the option to take a shortcut at work. Passivity dominates manhood today.

We need coaches to call us to the manhood God has intended for us. Men who do not have coaches tend to be unable to receive instruction and fall into foolish patterns of life.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Prov. 12:15).

The coaches in my life are not “yes men.” These are men I trust and have seen walk with Jesus in humility and honor. Just like Urban Meyer, my coaches sometimes get in my face, and other times they instruct gently. But there is one great difference between my coaches and Urban Meyer. My coaches are not pointing me toward a greatness that I am creating. They are pointing me toward the greatness that is Jesus.

You see, Jesus has died and risen so that I can bring Him glory. I bring Jesus glory by being the man He is calling me to be. My coaches are constantly point me the ultimate Man, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They preach the gospel to me.

I can never obtain real greatness by pulling myself up by my bootstraps. I can never reject passivity by my own power. I cannot even find my manhood identity in my coaches.

A great coach points you to Jesus. Men, you need a great coach. You need a coach who will point you to the greatness that is Jesus.



Matt Patrick is the lead pastor of The Well Church in Boulder, Colo.

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Will Chris Broussard Become a Martyr of the Media?.

Chris Broussard
Chris Broussard

You knew it was going to happen sooner or later. An athlete in a major pro sport would come out as gay, declaring himself a Christian as well, and a Christian journalist would be asked for his take on the subject, only to be labeled intolerant and bigoted. How could it be otherwise?

It’s true that in 2009ESPN writer Chris Broussard opined that the NBA was “ready” for an openly gay player, explaining, “By ‘ready’ I don’t mean that everyone on the guy’s team or in his organization will like the fact that he’s a homosexual, or that the guy might not get called names by opponents on the court, or even that his own teammates might not chuckle behind his back.”

Instead, Broussard explained, “By ‘ready’ I mean that players will tolerate a homosexual teammate or opponent. Like Charles Barkley said, some have been doing that already … Thus, whenever a current player comes out as gay, you will hear overwhelming support for the guy.”

At the same time, Broussard stated plainly, “I’m a born-again, Bible-believing Christian (no, I’m not a member of the Religious Right). And I’m against homosexuality (I believe it’s a sin) and same-sex marriage.

“But,” he said, “before you label me ‘homophobic,’ know that I’m against any type of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. That includes heterosexual fornication (premarital sex).”

That, however, wasn’t Broussard’s punch line. Rather, his point was this: “I’m saying all that to say that if I can play basketball with a homosexual, just about anyone can.”

So, Broussard holds to basic, biblical teaching about sexual morality, but that doesn’t stop him from being a friend or a teammate or a neighbor to a gay man or woman. In fact, he went on to mention his friendship with openly gay ESPN journalist LZ Granderson, with whom he also played basketball in several rec leagues.

But the stakes are much higher now, and it is virtually forbidden today for a secular journalist (as opposed to a religious commentator) to express any difference with homosexual practice (although it’s becoming increasingly difficult even for a religious commentator to speak out).

So, it’s no surprise that, on the day that NBA center Jason Collins declared his homosexuality, Broussard was asked for his take on Collins’ claim to be a Christian.

His answer was consistent with his beliefs: “I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality,” Broussard said. “I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is.

“If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin”—speaking again of homosexual practice, not simply being gay—“that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.”

Now, from a biblical perspective, this is pretty basic stuff, but in speaking so candidly, Broussard violated an unspoken media rule: Thou shalt not speak critically of homosexuality in any way, shape, size or form.

I wonder how long it will be before Broussard is pressured into offering a groveling, “I’m not homophobic” apology or before he is required to go to sensitivity training, being reminded that his comments were the cause of another gay teen suicide. (I’m not for a moment belittling the tragedy of a young person taking his or her life, and we should do whatever is right to help prevent that. I’m simply pointing out that today, when you hold to biblical standards, you’re told that the blood of gay teens is on your hands. I’m often told this in the comments section after my articles.) Is it even possible that Broussard could be fired if he doesn’t recant?

Already in Canada, sports broadcaster Damian Goddard “lost his job after tweeting his support of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

According to Goddard’s website, “After a career of nearly 20 years spanning both radio and television sports broadcasting, and at the time one of the leading anchors on Sportsnet, Goddard was immediately fired for voicing his view on marriage. He now has a case before the Human Rights Commission challenging his dismissal.” (Unfortunately, Goddard’s case was just dismissed by the Human Rights Commission.)

Could this happen to Broussard? It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it did.

Interviewed along with Broussard was his gay colleague LZ Granderson, who stated that he would love to be able not to have premarital sex (another sin listed by Broussard) but that today in America, he can’t even marry.

Of course, there are now nine states where Granderson could “marry” a gay partner, but that’s hardly the point. First, no one is making him have sex if he wants to avoid “premarital sex.” Second, he can walk into any number of churches and have a same-sex “wedding” ceremony performed, if the issue is doing what is right in God’s sight. (To be clear, I’m talking from the perspective of a “gay Christian,” not from the perspective of Scripture.) Third, the sexual desires and romantic attractions of a tiny percent of the population are not a legitimate justification for redefining marriage, regardless of the latest PC mantra.

But returning to Chris Broussard, who is being lambasted for his “intolerant and bigoted” stand, will he be become the next martyr of the media for openly holding to biblical convictions?

Time will tell, but my message to Chris is simple: Stand strong, brother. You have spoken the truth.



Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrownon Twitter.

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