Newt Gingrich complains that homophobes are being 'repressed' as row erupts after Michael Sam kisses boyfriend on television
Two NFL insiders are facing possible disciplinary proceedings after tweeting negative comments after ESPN screened the kiss
Newt Gingrich, the former Republican politician and presidential candidate, has said that gay people need to be more tolerant of straight people with anti-gay opinions and that people with homophobic views are being 'repressed'.
Speaking on an episode of CNN's "Crossfire," earlier this week, Gingrich defended critics of Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, after he reacted to the news that he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams by kissing his boyfriend on television.
Two NFL insiders are facing possible disciplinary proceedings after tweeting negative comments after ESPN screened the kiss. Don Jones of the Miami Dolphins was temporarily excused from team activities and fined after tweeting "OMG", and then "horrible", after being asked whether his post was related to the kiss.
The Dolphins issued a statement saying: "We were disappointed to read Don's tweets during the NFL Draft. They were inappropriate and unacceptable, and we regret the negative impact these comments had on such an important weekend for the NFL.
"We met with Don today about respect, discrimination and judgment. These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program. We will continue to emphasize and educate our players that these statements will not be tolerated."
Don Jones later issued an apology for his "inappropriate comments".
Retired NFL running back Derrick Ward said he had received death threats after posting a tweet on Saturday after kiss.
"Man U got little kids lookin at the draft. I can't believe ESPN even allowed that to happen...Everyone who comments on my page saying what dude did was fine is getting blocked," Ward tweeted. "So far I've blocked 10 people", he wrote.
And putting "your tongue into the other person's mouth is a little overboard," he added. "But people seen that as oh i'm bashing him because he's gay. Who cares!!!"
During a debate about the row on CNN Gingrich expressed concern that people with such views were being "repressed".
"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,'" he complained to the panel. "It strikes me, that's repression, that's not inclusive."
"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 further went on to claim that Michael Sam had manipulated the situation, citing an ad for Visa he recently did: "The whole thing is a fiasco. You have a clever young guy, who has manipulated the system."
Gingrich has form when it comes to attacking the gay community. Earlier this year he said that gay rights groups that lobbied for the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich over his opposition to gay marriage. Gingrich said the campaign to oust Eich was a "blatant example of their new fascism".
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