Neb. Coach Won’t Testify on Anti-Bias Ordinance
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska assistant football coach Ron Brown said he opposes a proposed Lincoln ordinance to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination, but he won’t speak against it at Monday’s public hearing.
In a letter published in Sunday’s Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/J6EC2Y ), Brown said his Christian beliefs led him to express his opposition to homosexuality. The letter notes that while he is against laws that protect gay people, he would never discriminate against gay players.
"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," he wrote.
Brown, 55, said in an interview with the newspaper (http://bit.ly/K3l42u ) that he won’t speak at Monday’s hearing because he’s concerned media coverage of his involvement would be distracting.
"As I prayed about it, I thought it was not in the Lord’s will for me to testify," Brown said.
Brown caused a stir in March when he testified against a similar measure in Omaha and failed to distance his views from the university. The city council approved the ordinance.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman has said he found Brown’s remarks to the Omaha City Council offensive, but that Brown has the right to express his personal views.
Brown told the newspaper that the university hasn’t asked him to refrain from speaking at the hearing and that he doesn’t believe his job would be in jeopardy if he did.
"I’ve gotten assurance from the chancellor that, as a citizen, I can express my views publicly," Brown said. "I mean, this is almost like voting."
Brown did not immediately return phone or text messages left Sunday by The Associated Press.
Head football coach Bo Pelini told the newspaper Saturday he’s not concerned that Brown’s views could be detrimental to the football team.
"I hired Ron Brown because of who he is and the type of person he is," Pelini said. "He’s never brought negative attention to our program."
On Friday, Attorney General Jon Bruning issued an opinion that said Nebraska cities cannot adopt ordinances protecting people from discrimination for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender because the state’s anti-discrimination laws don’t extend to sexual orientation.
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler said that wouldn’t deter the city from putting the proposal to a vote.