LeRoy Butler supports Collins, church revokes his speaking engagement

May 1, 2013 at 6:27 PM
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MILWAUKEE, May 1 (UPI) -- A former NFL player says a Wisconsin church canceled his speaking date after he tweeted support for NBA player Jason Collins' decision to come out as gay.

LeRoy Butler -- who played defensive back for the Green Bay Packers from 1990-2001 -- said he got a call from officials at a church he did not identify after he sent a Twitter message congratulating Collins. He said the pastor told him the church would cancel an anti-bullying presentation he was scheduled to give unless he removed the tweet, asked God's forgiveness and apologized, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

He refused, and told the pastor the church's demand was an example of bullying.

"Every gay and lesbian person will say 'You know, LeRoy doesn't speak up for the weak or the silenced,'" Butler said Tuesday. "'He doesn't stand for anything as a man and he did it for money.' Why would you ask me to reduce my integrity like that?

"This is a man's personal story. I've always been on the record saying if there was a gay person in the Packer locker room, I would have played with them," Butler said. "All I care about is if you can run and jump, and can you win Super Bowls."

Butler said he received an apology from the church, "but mainly thanking me for not releasing the church name."

Butler was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, a four-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL's All-Decade team.

He played on the Packers Super Bowl champion team following the 1996 season and is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame.

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