Homophobic people are having their opinions "repressed", a former Republican politician and presidential candidate has claimed.
Newt Gingrich, has said that people should be more tolerant of straight people with anti-gay opinions, defending critics of the first openly gay NFL player, Michael Sam.
Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, reacted to the news that he was drafted by the St Louis Rams by kissing his boyfriend on camera.
While public response to the kiss has been overwhelmingly positive, two NFL insiders are facing repercussions for their negative reactions. Miami Dolphins player Don Jones —who tweeted "Omg" and "horrible" about the kiss — was fined and suspended by the team for his comments, while former NFL running back Derrick Ward said he has received death threats over his tweet that the kiss was "no bueno."
Speaking on Tuesday's episode of CNN's "Crossfire," Gingrich argued that Jones and Ward had a right to their anti-gay opinions. "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?" guest and former NFL player Jamal Anderson countered.
"Shouldn't we also be teaching people who are gay to be open and understanding of people who — ?" Gingrich incredulously asked.