A Wisconsin church has canceled a speaking engagement featuring former NFL star LeRoy Butler, allegedly after he tweeted support for openly gay NBA player Jason Collins.
The Washington Wizards' center came out as gay in an editorial published Monday for Sports Illustrated magazine. This announcement was the first of its kind for an active, professional male athlete playing in one of the nation's four major sports leagues. Butler offered his support to the 34-year-old, tweeting: "Congrats to Jason Collins."
The former Green Bay Packers player was scheduled to speak at an unspecified church in Wisconsin this week, but on Wednesday he revealed that his appearance had been axed from the agenda. He alleged that the cancellation was a direct result of his congratulatory message to Collins, as Sports Illustrated's National Football Post first reported.
Although he has declined to name the church he was supposed to speak at, Butler continues to defend his support for Collins.
"This is a man's personal story," he told Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel. "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. All I care about is if you can run and jump, and can you win Super Bowls."
The ex-NFL star, who said he has always tried to be a role model for all children (gay and straight), added that the church's pastor is guilty of "bullying."
"This is a form of bullying, what you're doing," he said of the pastor's decision to bar him from speaking at the church. "You're trying to get me to do something I don't want to do. He disagreed, and I said, 'We agree to disagree' and he said 'No, I'm right and you're wrong.'"
A spokesperson for Butler was not immediately available to comment to The Huffington Post.
Butler retired from the NFL in 2001. He had played with the Green Pay Packers for his entire career. He is now committed to charity work through his LeRoy Butler Foundation, which offers support and financial assistance to women battling breast cancer.