Newt Gingrich, now a co-host of CNN's Crossfire, pushed back against complaints made by some about the treatment of Michael Sam on social media.
Gingrich and his co-host Van Jones invited former NFL player Jamal Anderson to the program to discuss over the fining and suspension of Miami Dolphins linebacker Don Jones for tweeting "Horrible" after the kiss was shown on television. Another former player, Derrick Ward complained about the kiss being exposed to his children and was sent death threats for the complaint.
These death threats (along with... uh... "sensitivity training") seem to be what Gingrich was focused on:
Gingrich: You guys talk about how you want to be inclusive, except of course, if somebody tweets this, then having a death threat or 'let's send them off to sensitivity training.' It strikes me, that's repression, that's not inclusive.
Anderson: Is it repression to try to teach them to be understanding and open to other people, especially when you talk about people they have not been exposed to?
Gingrich: Shouldn't you also be teaching people who are gay to be open and understanding of people?
Okay, let's get real for half a second here: death threats are almost never okay (with the exception of immediate danger in attempts to dissuade an attacker/abuser/harasser). They certainly are completely unacceptable over social media. Plenty of LGBT+ people take the wrong tack when it comes to expressing justified anger with a societal framework which marginalises them.
However, there is a distinct difference between the actions of a few overzealous individuals within the queer alphabet soup, and the systemic oppression faced by them in nearly all societies around the world. That's not repression because as a group LGBT+ individuals do not have the ability to institutionalise discrimination. Sorry, Newt.
Surprisingly Gingrich and company have their allies on the "other side." Self-proclaimed "liberal" ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith has also said that he respects those who don't want Michael Sam's kiss with his boyfriend "in their face."
People should have the freedom to not want to be associated with that or not want that...I think it's a very, very dangerous thing when people see something and they have a problem with what they're seeing and they express themselves, and ultimately they're fined.
I, too, have an issue with private views leading to firing, but if you're going to espouse those views in public in ways which may directly impact your employer, then I'm a little less sympathetic. Public figures like professional sports players (and politicians) should, if you will excuse the pun, know the score when they sign on. And that includes not embarrassing your team or the league with your public commentary.
Video via CNN/YouTube.