Televangelist Pat Robertson on Tuesday came to the aide of Chris Broussard, who on Monday criticized Jason Collins, an NBA free agent, after he came out gay, making Collins the U.S.'s first openly gay professional athlete.

During an appearance on ESPN's Outside the Lines, Broussard, a sports analyst who mainly covers the NBA for ESPN, said Collins was living in “unrepentant sin.”

“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals,” Broussard said. “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

On Tuesday, Broussard backed off a bit, saying that Collins displayed bravery and that he has no objections to him playing in the NBA, but reiterated that he stands by his comments.

“It's what Christianity says, ladies and gentlemen!” Robertson said on The 700 Club. “Christianity says fornication is a sin. Somehow we've said if it's heterosexual fornication, it's bad; if it's homosexual fornication – that used to be called an abomination in the Bible – now it's a protected civil right. And so somebody that says that that kind of conduct is sinful is now being pilloried in the press. He's telling the truth! This is what the Bible says!”

“Now, if you don't want to be a Christian, that's your business. If these media types, these writers, don't want to be Christians, that's their business. If they choose a lifestyle that takes them outside the protection of God, that's fine. That's their business. You can't tell them if they want to go to hell or heaven, that's their business. But don't tell somebody that he can't speak specifically about what the Christian faith says about certain conduct. There isn't anything bigoted about that. That's what it says.”

“So, our hat's off to somebody who's brave enough to say it. But, whew, let's hope the people at ESPN will man up and defend their guy for speaking what is truth.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

In a tweet, ESPN did confirm that it stood by Broussard: “We regret that a respectful discussion on personal viewpoints became a distraction from today's news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins' announcement.”