Cleveland Browns Linebacker Apologizes for Tweeting ’Faggot’
An NFL linebacker for Ohio’s Cleveland Browns has issued an apology after he offended the LGBT community for tweeting the word "faggot," CBS Sports reports. Tank Carder’s tweet also upset his coach, Pat Shurmur, who said he has addressed the situation.
"It’s very inappropriate. Obviously, he does not speak for me or the Cleveland Browns. It was very wrong and not something we condone," Shurmur said. The coach has been critical of his players for using social media like Twitter and Facebook, but has not banned them outright from using them. Although Carder hasn’t said whether he’s been slapped with a fine for the offensive tweet, he did apologize on Wednesday for the anti-gay remark.
"It wasn’t intended to hurt anyone, but it did," Carder said. He added that he would never use the word again and then tweeted an apology (on his Twitter account, of course), in which he wrote, "I was not bashing the gay community in any way...if you knew me you would know I wouldn’t do that. Again I’m sorry if you were offended. I want to sincerely apologize for the word I used! I did not in any way mean to offend anyone! That tweet doesn’t define me as a person!"
Outsports first broke the story and reported that Carder, who was selected in the 2012 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills and signed with the Browns in September, got into an online argument that sparked the use of the homophobic epithet. Although the original tweet has been deleted, a number of Twitter users replied to the athlete and expressed their disapproval.
Carder initially defended himself.
"@craigcraiglife I don’t agree with being gay or lesbian at all, but saying faggot doesn’t make me a homophobe, it’s just a word," Carder tweeted to a follower. "@DJive19 faggot is actually a bundle of twigs...there’s your research," he tweeted to another user.
Soon after the football player made the tweet, however, Cleveland Browns management chimed in. "These comments are certainly not reflective of the Cleveland Browns organization, nor do we condone them in any fashion," Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said. "We have spoken with Tank and have made this very clear to him."
CBS Sports quoted out-gay former Texas Christian University football player Vince Pryor’s reaction to Carder’s choice of words.
"I was surprised and disappointed to read about the anti-gay remarks you made on Twitter," Pryor wrote. "As an alumnus of TCU and a former football player, I know from my experience that your words do not represent the culture of TCU. However, I am disappointed in the lack of understanding you’ve shown in the effect your words can have on young athletes who consider you a role model."
Although the sports world has seen progress in the recent months when it comes to LGBT equality and acceptance, thanks to players like the Minnesota Vikings’ very articulate punter Chris Kluew, incidents continue to occur where players have anti-gay outbursts.
In September, for example, the Associated Press reported that Yunel Escobar, a shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays, was suspended for wearing eye-black displaying a homophobic Spanish slur.
"It was not something I intended to be offensive," Escobar said through a translator. "It was not anything intended to be directed at anyone in particular." Officials from the Blue Jays suspended the baseball player for three games, which resulted in an $82,000 salary loss.