When I was eight-years-old, LeRoy Butler was my favorite Green Bay Packers player. I wore his No. 36 jersey until I literally could not squeeze into it any longer. I, like every kid in Wisconsin, emulated the Lambeau Leap that he created by jumping into snowbanks cradling a football.
Nearly 20 years later, I’m proud that one of my heroes growing up is a man of conviction.
According to his @leap36 Twitter feed, Butler was forced to cancel his speaking engagement at a Wisconsin church due to the support that he showed to NBA journeyman Jason Collins, who announced this week that he was gay. What exactly did Butler say?
“Congrats to Jason Collins.”
That’s it. One four-word tweet to a colleague, another professional athlete who was choosing to make the most important announcement of his life in a very public way.
Here’s the rest of Butler’s revelation from his personal twitter feed:
“Wow, I was schedule to speak at a church in WI, and a member said that the pastor wants to cancel my event, I said ok why?”
“Then I was told, because I said congrats to Jason Collins on twitter, I said really? we have a contract, he said check the moral clause,
“FYI the fee was 8500$, then I was told if I removed the tweet, and apologize and ask god forgiveness, I can have the even, I said no,
“Only god can judge,”
Whether you agree with Butler or not, it’s refreshing to see not just an athlete, but a person stand by his convictions. The $8,500 he was scheduled to earn isn’t an insignificant amount of money, and removing the tweet would only have taken a few clicks of a mouse. He didn’t come out in support of homosexuals or endorse the lifestyle, but simply congratulated a fellow athlete on making an important decision.
As for the twitter call-out? I love it. Social media can make people look very foolish (hey, Mike Wallace!) but it can also be a very effective tool in spreading a message and showing how many people really do understand the bigger picture. Butler showed he was honest and had nothing to hide (and unswayed by a pay day), and it’s the church that ends up looking foolish.
And by the way, this is only one example of Butler being a great person. Click here to read more about the LeRoy Butler Foundation and how he helps out families affected by breast cancer.