Philadelphia 76ers forward Paul Reed is the first NBA player to publicly apologize for anti-gay tweets that were featured in an Outsports exposé containing a trove of homophobic tweets made by more than three dozen players.
Credit to him for acknowledging the harm of his words, even though they were posted years ago.
A young gay NBA fan forwarded Outsports 78 anti-gay tweets made by 40 players on 23 teams. Two of the tweets belong to Reed, whom the 76ers selected in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft.
“Bitches be gay today, bi tommorow, and pregnant sunday ha,” Reed tweeted in 2014.
He sent out another in 2015: “Why is it so many niggas dressin up like girls and puttin on wigs tryna be funny. Shit gay 100%.”
On Wednesday, the 76ers forwarded Reed’s apology to Outsports.
“Last week, two insensitive statements that I made on social media as a teenager were published in an article. The statements do not reflect the man I am today, and I’ve deleted them from my account. I sincerely apologize for any hurt that these posts caused both then and now,” he said in a statement.
“Over the years, my eyes have been opened to the struggles that the LGBTQ+ community faces every day. Now more than ever, equality is crucial and essential for the future of our communities.”
The Sixers added they appreciate Reed’s mea culpa.
Though many of the tweets in question were sent when the players were teenagers or in college, they remained live on their accounts for several years. The purpose of our article wasn’t to shame any particular player, but rather point out the odious power of anti-gay slurs.
Who knows how many other LGBTQ NBA fans stumbled upon these messages from their favorite stars?
“I don’t care how long ago it was, when you’re talking about putting a bullet in someone’s head or some of this language, that’s totally disrespectful,” Gordon told Outsports. “I don’t care what job you have, there’s no tolerance for that.”
The 76ers have long shown an embrace of LGBTQ people, from marching in the Philly Pride Parade to celebrating the community at Pride Night. An out gay front office employee, Lee Carey, wrote on Outsports the Sixers immediately made him feel like part of their family.
Many sports franchises host LGBTQ-themed nights and provide lip service to the community these days. But through their response to this story, the 76ers demonstrated they don’t only show up to collect kudos.
At Outsports, we firmly believe that regretful comments people make in their youth don’t necessarily represent their current views. As Reed mentioned, he was in high school when those tweets were sent.
The important thing is to take accountability and pledge to improve. That’s why it’s so disappointing that Suns forward Torrey Craig remains silent about his old tweets hating “gay dudes” and laughing about putting bullets into our heads.
Until Craig addresses those tweets, he may be seen by some as the face of homophobia in the NBA.
Reed. meanwhile, is owning his mistakes, and in the process, demonstrating his personal evolution.
That’s the best way to move forward.