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Reggie White, football legend and unfortunate bigot, dies at 43

Reggie White died of a heart attack in Huntersville, NC today. You’ll find plenty of obits on his football career. I’m not a football fan, but I’ve heard plenty about White in his role as a minister.

He was a publicly and stridently homophobic man, using the Bible and his ministry to promote the discredited “ex-gay” movement,. Ex-gay churches have hurt countless gay people so desperate to escape the homophobia in their lives that they believed they could change their orientation. White also said some of the most embarrassingly bigoted statements on race in a public forum I’ve ever read.

In March 1998, Reggie White, an ordained Minister and all-pro defensive end for the Green Bay Packers stepped up to the podium, looked out at the members of the Wisconsin state legislature and unleashed one of the most memorable speeches ever made by a sports star. It was an unforgettable racist and homophobic diatribe. When he trotted out onto the practice field at the Carolina Panthers training facility a few weeks ago he may have changed the color of his uniform, but he wasn’t backtracking from any of the bigoted remarks he’s made during the past few years.

White told the legislators that homosexuality was one of the biggest sins in the Bible. He stereotyped several ethnic groups saying:

When you look at the black race, black people are very gifted in what we call worship and celebration. A lot of us like to dance, and if you go to black churches, you see people jumping up and down, because they really get into it. White people were blessed with the gift of structure and organization. You guys do a good job of building businesses and things of that nature and you know how to tap into money pretty much better than a lot of people do around the world. Hispanics are gifted in family structure. You can see a Hispanic person and they can put 20 or 30 people in one home. They were gifted in the family structure. When you look at the Asians, the Asian is very gifted in creation, creativity and inventions. If you go to Japan or any Asian country, they can turn a television into a watch. They’re very creative. And you look at the Indians, they have been very gifted in the spirituality.”

And as far as homosexuality goes, he fully supported the ex-gay movement. Here is a portion of an ad he appeared in: :

Toward an Open National Debate on Homosexuality…

I’ve been called homophobic. I’ve been called stupid. I’ve been called unintelligent, and I’ve been called a nigger by so-called gay activists.” –Reggie White ~ NFL All-Pro Football Player

Without a free and open debate on homosexuality, we might never have learned:

* The truth about the non-genetic roots of homosexuality…and how nurture, not nature, is the real cause of homosexual behavior.

* The truth about ex-gays…and how thousands are leaving their homosexual identity for sexual celibacy, and even marriage.

* The truth about homosexual recruitment in public schools…and how activists have misused AIDS funding to promote homosexuality to elementary-age kids.

* The truth about raw political power…and how homosexual activists are creating laws to mandate acceptance of homosexual behavior in every facet of life from work to school to religion and making it a criminal offense to dissent.

* The truth about sexual sin…and the powerful hold it has on homosexuals and heterosexuals alike and the only way to find real hope and healing.

I only hope that he came to regret some of the things he said and did that were so harmful to so many.


John Aravosis over at AmericaBlog has several posts on this and lots of comments have been contributed to the discussion:

Raging homophobe and bigot Reggie White dead at 43

Here’s what Reggie had to say about Latinos and Asians

Why does the NFL Commissioner think bigotry against Asians, Latinos and gays is good for kids?


Chicagochristianleft, over from DKos, sent me this ditty on St. Reggie from ESPN (AP):

School miffed: Reggie White stiffed students

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

DENVER — A low-income elementary school is still waiting for a $50,000 donation promised five years ago by NFL star Reggie White to create a college tuition fund for 85 students.

“I’m really disappointed,” Harrington Elementary Principal Sally Edwards said this week. “I think it’s sad that we promised something and we didn’t deliver.”

White made the pledge in 1998 when his team, the Green Bay Packers, was in Denver for a preseason game against the Broncos. He gave a large cardboard mock-up of check, made out to Harrington Elementary, to the Rev. Leon Kelly, an anti-gang activist who steered White to the school.

White, who retired from the Packers after the 1998 season, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The money was to create a tuition fund for the school’s 85 first-graders that year, to be awarded to those who graduate from high school with a C average or better. The students would now be in the sixth grade in various middle schools.

Edwards and Kelly said they haven’t been able to contact White despite numerous attempts. Kelly said he feels bad the money wasn’t there for the students.

“You can’t get a kid to understand that,” Kelly said.

Kelly still has the mock check.

If he could send a message to White, Kelly said, it would be, “Hey, Reggie, what’s up? Cool. But what’s up with this scholarship money?”


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Pam Spaulding

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