Earlier this week Ball State linebacker Damon Singleton used some homophobic slurs in some tweets to a friend of his. Nothing to march on Washington over, but still off-color and potentially offensive.
Singleton reached out to Outsports and asked us for the opportunity to make amends, as he truly felt bad about what he had done. We encouraged him to share his thoughts in a statement, and this is what he wrote:
"I want to first start off by saying that I am sorry to all those who were offended by my tweets to my friend. It was never meant to harm anyone. Me and my buddy were just joking around with each other and I can see where people took offense to that. I have no bad feelings toward gays or anything. I have gay family members and it does not bother me. I hope this all gets cleared and people will stop writing articles about me saying I am homophobic. I will never treat anyone different. I learned my lesson about using those words on social media and its a great learning experience. I hope this changes everyone's mind. I would be grateful if you guys would take down these tweets and articles about me. I am truly not a bad guy and I don't want this resting on me for the rest of my life. Thank you everyone."
Singleton's statement reflects what we at Outsports have said over and over: The use of homophobic language by athletes does not usually reflect some deeper anti-gay sentiment. This is the language they have grown up using, and they don't even realize it's wrong. We need to correct the language, because it is hurtful to gay youth. But when they offer apologies and explanations like Singleton has hear, we need to encourage them to learn from it and accept the apology.
Apology accepted, Damon. Now go play some football!