Nebraska assistant football coach Ron Brown will not testify when the Lincoln City Council holds its hearing on an ordinance to ban anti-LGBT discrimination. For this one moment, Brown has caved to pressure from fair-minded people who believe someone in his position should not be vocally advocating for discrimination. Still, he says he is just dying to testify against gay people:
"Everything inside of me wants to go to the hearing and be part of any type of issue such as this, if work permits me to do it," Brown told the Journal Star.
Brown has been vocal about his opposition to non-discrimination policies in Omaha and Lincoln. He said during a hearing in Omaha that by protecting gay people from discrimination, the city would be "unprotecting" Christians. Despite his vehement opposition to protections for gay people, Brown wrote a letter to the Lincoln Journal Star claiming he supports the university's non-discrimination policy:
I wholeheartedly agree with UNL's Non-Discrimination Policy. As a follower of Jesus Christ, and a UNL employee for twenty-two years, I haven't, nor will I violate this policy.
In 1979 I realized Christ's death and resurrection freed me from the many sins I am guilty of. I received Christ's forgiveness then and the Bible became my source of truth for every phase of life. God offers His grace to all of us. WOW!
Not all of my players have agreed with the Bible's views. One example, of many, would be those choosing heterosexual sex outside of marriage. Though the Bible teaches this as sin, I haven't penalized them with playing time or discrimination of any sort. Because I love them, I've invested in them even outside of football and gently asked them to consider God's view on it.
If I coached a gay player, because the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, I would do the same. If he didn't agree, I wouldn't penalize him with playing time or any form of discrimination.
I have and will embrace every player I coach, gay or straight ... but I won't embrace a legal policy that supports a lifestyle that God calls sin.
-- Ron Brown, private citizen of Nebraska
Unfortunately, Brown and the University of Nebraska still don't get it. The school's non-discrimination policy isn't just about playing time, it's about the environment fostered:
One aspect of this commitment is to foster a climate of inclusion and mutual support that will enhance our ability to achieve our overall goals...
Brown's actions and his speech, likening gay people to criminals and advocating for their discrimination, are miles away from upholding that part of the policy. And despite saying over and over that he's a private citizen (after saying on the record that his residence was Nebraska's football stadium), he simply cannot separate his public language from his job, as Rick Reilly brilliantly points out:
Brown, 55, speaks out often about Christ and against homosexuality, which is his First Amendment right. But Ron Brown wouldn't get one-tenth of these offers to speak if he weren't a Huskers coach. He's an in-state celebrity. He admits he uses Huskers football as a platform to get his message out. His personal opinions can't be separated from his job. There are three paragraphs in the Nebraska media guide about his Christian work. At the Omaha public hearing, he gave his address as Nebraska's Memorial Stadium.
The University, AD Tom Osbourne and head football coach Bo Pellini continue to support Brown in his crusade against the LGBT community. Help voice opposition to his war for discrimination by signing this change.org petition.