An Augusta firefighter has apologized for a tweet that drew widespread criticism for questioning the citizenship of a Latino boy singing the national anthem Tuesday at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio.
“The issue was really more sensitive than what I was paying attention to,” said Andre Lacey, an Augusta firefighter since 2007, in a phone call Friday. “By no means am I racist.”
Lacey said he deleted his Twitter account, @AndreLacey, after receiving death threats. People following him on Twitter who had nothing to do with the tweet, also received threats, he said.
Lacey said he didn’t expect the backlash to his original tweet, in which he wrote, “How you signing the anthem lookin like an illegal immigrant.”
The tweet, and several others like it, drew national attention after it was picked up by news sites and blogs.
“It was an insensitive remark,” said Lacey, who added that he wasn’t speaking as a representative of the city of Augusta or the fire department, only issuing a personal apology because he is “humbly regretful” for making the “tasteless” comment.
Earlier this week, Fire Chief Chris James said the department was aware of the tweet and taking a look at its options.
As of Friday, he said, “It’s still in progress.”
The tweet will be addressed by Lacey’s shift commander sometime after Lacey, who hasn’t been back to work since the tweet was sent, returns to the fire station, James said.