(This story was published in 2004).
I was driving home from Patriots country early Sunday morning when the news came through: Reggie White was dead. And I wasn’t sad in the slightest.
White was part of the team that beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. As a football fan, I can never forgive him for that.
Off the field, he was an unapologetic homophobe who stood as an anti-gay icon for gay-hating people everywhere.
Take a look at these comments from Reggie White – just a sampling of what he said in his life:
- "Let me explain something when I'm talking about sin, and I'm talking about all sin. One of the biggest ones that has been talked about that has really become a debate in America is homosexuality."
- "I've often had people ask me, would you allow a homosexual to be your friend. Yes, I will. And the reason I will is because I know that that person has problems, and if I can minister to those problems, I will."
- "But the Bible strictly speaks against it, and because the Bible speaks against it, we allow rampant sin including homosexuality and lying, and to me lying is just as bad as homosexuality, we've allowed this sin to run rampant in our nation, and because it has run rampant in our nation, our nation is in the condition it is today."
- “I'm offended that homosexuals will say that homosexuals deserve rights.”
- “Homosexuality is a decision, it's not a race. People from all different ethnic backgrounds live in this lifestyle. But people from all different ethnic backgrounds also are liars and cheaters and malicious and back-stabbing."
Stories are now coming out that he had regretted making those statements. These stories always come out after someone is gone. But, if he regretted them, why did he not make them right? Why didn't he go to colleges and high schools and state legislatures - where he made those terrible comments - and correct them?
Of course, people around football are mourning the loss of White – and praising him ad nauseum. They don't care that he verbally attacked some gay people - that just doesn't factor into the equation.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said that White will be remembered for “the way he served as a positive influence on so many young people.”
I’ll remember him for the negative influence he had on so many people – young and old. I can’t hold high regard for anyone who told kids that it’s not OK if they’re gay. With teen suicide rates as high as they are (and being gay is still the No. 1 reason kids kill themselves), White should be ashamed that he helped contribute to the shame that leads to that.
I won’t dance on his grave – but I certainly won’t cry that Reggie White is gone. I'll just cry for the kids that heard him say those terrible things - and decided to take their own lives. Those are the ones - some of them potential football players themselves - who really deserve our tears.