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  • Record does not support criticism of Ron Brown

    Ron Brown had better learn to thrive in hot water. That's where he is right now, and probably where he'll stay throughout his career as assistant football coach at the University of Nebraska.

    That's because he's an evangelical Christian who speaks out about his faith whether he's on the job or not. That'll get you in big trouble as American society becomes increasingly secular, politically correct and tolerant to every faith except Christianity. It has made Brown the target of potshots taken by people who want to score points for their political agenda by trying to get him fired.

    ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski is one of the latest to criticize Brown for his opposition to the expansion of Omaha's anti-discrimination ordinance to include homosexuals, joining more predictable attacks from the Huffington Post, which has made the ridicule of social conservatives into an art form. Their premise: Brown hates homosexuals and if he isn't actively persecuting gays who may be on the Nebraska roster, he certainly is intimidating them or he would be if they weren't too scared to join the team.

    "And what if there were a gay player on the Nebraska roster?" wrote Wojciechowski in his April 27 column on ESPN's website. "Or what if one of the players Brown is trying to recruit this week is gay, or has a family member or friend who is gay?
    "These are not unreasonable scenarios. Would you want to play for a coach who thinks God loves gays less than women or African-Americans? Would you want to play for a coach who preaches compassion and love, but is willing to turn his back on a fellow human being because of that person's sexual orientation?"

    It's a huge leap of logic to say that because someone oppose a certain public policy proposal, he hates the people who support that proposal, but I hear it all the time when it comes to gay rights, and that's essentially what Wojciechowski and Huffington Post blogger Cyd Ziegler have done in the last few weeks. They criticize him for using his job as a platform to oppose the widening of anti-discrimination ordinances to include homosexuals even as they use their own jobs as platforms to promote the widening of anti-discrimination ordinances to include homosexuals.

    A responder to Ziegler's March 22 blog said he played football at NU during Brown's tenure as assistant coach. He disputed the notion that Brown intimidates players who disagree with him. In fact, the responder said Brown never pushed his religious beliefs on players, and that nobody complained about Brown or his Christianity.

    "Yes we knew he was Christian," the responder wrote. "He did not sway us to dislike non-Christians."

    That former player had firsthand experience with Brown, and so do I. Here's some disclosure: as a staff member for a Christian camp, I assisted with one of Brown's "Mission Nebraska" initiatives about a decade ago. In 2005, as sports editor of the North Platte Bulletin, I interviewed him after he was fired by Bill Callahan. Brown was gracious in his attitude toward Callahan and Steve Pederson. After moving to the Lincoln area in 2009, I began attending the same church as Brown, and have interviewed him at least three times since then.

    Knowing what I do about Brown and his theology, I would oppose anyone who says Brown believes God loves gays less than other human beings.

    While Brown's critics do their best to stir up anger with their hypothetical scenarios, they have avoided a real-life situation involving a player Brown works with every day in practice as running back coach.

    Ameer Abdullah will be a sophomore running back at Nebraska this fall. His religion is Islam. Brown is an evangelical Christian who holds views very much in opposition to Abdullah's. So here's your test. How does Brown treat players who don't believe as he does?

    Well sure enough, in late April, a Nebraska running back unexpectedly quit the team. Was it a result of Brown and his outspoken faith?

    Nope. The player who left the team was another sophomore, Aaron Green, whose background is evangelical Christian.

    Last fall, under Brown's tutelage, Abdullah became the second-string I-back behind all-conference performer Rex Burkhead, moving ahead of Green on the depth chart.

    Green's leaving the Cornhuskers likely had nothing to do with Brown or his beliefs from early reports, it sounds like he mainly wants to be closer to home in Texas. The point, however, is this: the coach has not turned his back on Ameer Abdullah, a player who has a substantially different faith than his own. In fact, the opposite is true. All signs indicate he is treating Abdullah with fairness and respect. And I'm not surprised.

    Ron Brown is an excellent football coach who has strong Christian beliefs and makes strong statements about them. That doesn't make him a hater. But it will keep him in hot water.

    Formerly the sports editor at the North Platte Bulletin and a sportswriter/columnist for the North Platte Telegraph, Tad Stryker is a longtime Nebraska sports writer, having covered University of Nebraska and high school sports for more than 25 years. He started writing for this website in 2008. You can e-mail him at
    Comments 86 Comments
    1. ThotDoc's Avatar
      ThotDoc -
      Good article Tad.....and now you can add yourself to the list of those who will draw the ire from those committed to political correctness and of misapplying Christian faith.
    1. One Man Jury's Avatar
      One Man Jury -
      I'm down with Brown, 100%. GBR!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      This has nothing to do with political correctness. The part Tad leaves out is the fact that Ron Brown used the universities address as his own to speak at the meeting. Nobody is saying Ron Brown isn't entitled to his opinion. What is upsetting is the fact that he uses his clout with the football team to further his agenda. He works for a public university, that opens its doors to everyone. Ron Brown works for a university that gives rights to the very things he was talking against.
    1. Pookey's Avatar
      Pookey -
      Excellent article, Tad! I agree whole heartedly. Just because someone has strong beliefs, doesn't mean they will push those beliefs onto others or treat others with differents beliefs any different than others. Ron Brown's faith, personality and integrity are what each and every one of us should strive to model, in my personal opinion.
    1. Cyberbach's Avatar
      Cyberbach -
      Great take Tad, good to see someone defend the man who has the courage to profess his faith. God Bless Ron Brown
    1. RussR's Avatar
      RussR -
      The real haters surrounding the Ron Brown story, are those lie and mislead with their politically motivated writings. Ron Brown is a great man who loves the Lord and is not afraid to say so...May God Continue To Bless Ron Brown!
    1. Scrollsker's Avatar
      Scrollsker -
      You have my agreement!! Brown needs to stay, I think if he can weather the storm past next November all this junk will die down.

      Apparently only Christians deserve criticism......or hate gay people for that matter.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Good article to remind folks there is a difference between believing your ideas and hating the opposition. Personally don't agree with Brown's statements, but from my second hand knowledge of him as a person and coach, it'd be hard to believe he's discriminating Christian vs nonchristian players. Hope AA can catch some in the flat this year and break some ankles!! Gbr
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I think the average person that has a problem with Ron Brown doesn't think he "Hates Gays" as you like to put it. It's how Ron Brown refers to their sexual orientation as a "sin" to which many people (including gay Christians) find offensive. Not to mention his alluding to the fact that the council members would somehow find retribution for their actions in the eyes of Christ if they supported the measure.

      Now of course Ron Brown has the right to his opinion, and he's at liberty to express it, but if someone doesn't agree with him they have the same right to express their opinion as Ron Brown does to express his. So why is it that if you offer a critique of items such as a person's sexual orientation it's freedom of speech or religion, but if you critique someones religious beliefs it's political correctness gone awry? Wouldn't treating someone's faith with extra special sensitivity the exact root of what most people dislike about "political correctness" in the first place?

      My own personal point of view is that this being attack on Christianity is a myth. Ron Brown was celebrated when he gave his infamous prayer at Penn State. This is an attack on those who believe Gay and Lesbian citizens don't deserve the same rights and protections as other citizens regardless of the logic a person uses to come to that opinion. If Ron Brown had no religion and referred to homosexuality as "immoral" some other reason, my opinion is he would have met an almost exact response to what he's currently getting.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Overall I disagree with Ron on this one. Being able to justifiably fire somebody because you don't like their legal personal life is absurd. Just like homosexuals shouldn't be able to be fired for their legal lifestyle and beliefs, Ron Brown shouldn't be fired for his. The problem is that Ron, as a citizen of Lincoln, made the trip down I-80 to Omaha to testify in a public forum on a city ordinance, and for some reason, used Memorial Stadium as his address of record. If he was simply making the trip to express his personal beliefs in a political forum, then what was he thinking dragging the football program into it? The University has a policy of non-discrimination against homosexuals. He listed his address as Memorial Stadium which is part of the University. Has he stood up for his beliefs against his own institution which officially does not discriminate based on sexual orientation? It's disappointing that the football program is being dragged into this. Ron's history with the players and the impact he's made on their lives speaks for itself and is ample evidence of his character. He was sloppy in getting his point across.

      You can't criticize somebody based on hypotheticals, but you can't defend them based on suppositions. Both sides are guilty of that. But that's how we like it these days: liberals saying Fox News is biased while conservatives will refer to the media as liberal.

      Short post long: what bugs me about this more than anything is that it keeps us from talking football! Tad, I love reading your post-game analysis articles. It a Sunday morning ritual in the fall. I think I cite your write-ups more often than anybody else's. Is it August yet?
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Is it not unbelievable how the so called "tolerant, politically correct" crowd just cannot tolerate Christians' who live their faith and have a Biblical worldview? When Christians truly love others as themselves because of being first loved, that is just not understood by anyone following the secular worldview. How many years will it be before the secular crowd jails and kills Christians as happens in many countries?
    1. jcree's Avatar
      jcree -
      I agree Tad, Ron has always been gracious to people of other beliefs. As an evangelical Christian you are taught to hate the sin, but love the sinner.
    1. hockmav's Avatar
      hockmav -
      If you want to teach hate then coaching and mentoring of young people is not the profession for you. Dump Brown now!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Everyone in this country needs to read this article.
    1. HSKRFan's Avatar
      HSKRFan -
      Our country is slipping into way too much "political correctness" and accepting every faith except for Christianity. Well, it's about time Christians stand up to what is God and do it as God would...just like Coach Brown. I'm a believer and I will always strive to live my life like him and God! Why can all these other groups, "Gays", "Radical Muslims", "Illegal Alliens"...come into our country and change the very things that founded this country? It seems as though everyone that feels slided or needs assistance with making their way of life everyones way of life, uses the media to deliver it. Hey media, step up as Tad has and let's get this country back on track...starting with the Government that is helping the destruction of it.

      Praise God!
    1. George McFly's Avatar
      George McFly -
      It makes me sad to see good Christian people persecuted for speaking out what is written in the bible first of all. Second of all, all Brown is saying is that the legislature is wrong. That doesn't mean that he would be mean and hateful to a homosexual person. However, I am sure that if a homosexual asked him what Brown thinks, at least he's man enough to say what he believes and tell the truth rather than give a predictable answer in the realm of trying to be politically correct.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      ><> Ron Brown <><
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I like Coach Brown, always have, always will. I always respect people of faith regardless of their persuasion. It appears that RB has crossed the line here because he has taken things to the political arena and gone beyond the 'Tim Tebow' realm. Expressing your faith is always respected, getting others to use the rule of law or due process via government to prosthelatize is abuse of power. I don't think he should be fired, but don't want to see UNL turned into another Air Force Academy (2005) mess.
    1.'s Avatar -
      I too agree with Mr Brown, we have no tolerance for this lifestyle, If the secular media and politically correct numbskulls don't like it ,That's too bad. Homosexuality is a vile aborration ,and, yes it is not acceptable to me or my entire family. So, go on Ron speak your truth, You won;t see any in Heaven anyway, It's in the scriptures.
    1. Mr. Meltdown's Avatar
      Mr. Meltdown -
      I'm so glad to see someone stand up for coach Brown's rights. It seems the premise that he has rights too has been lost on some.
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