OXFORD, Miss. — Former Mississippi basketball player Marshall Henderson says ESPN’s coverage of Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL was inappropriate and that he is boycotting SportsCenter.
Henderson took to Twitter on Monday using expletives to say that he would not watch the show until the network stopped running the Sam footage, adding “… My brothers are 7 and 11 and saw that!!!.”
After a flurry of backlash, he sent another tweet less than an hour later saying “Im sorry, but I DO NOT AGREE WHATSOEVER that should be shown to where innocent eyes can see!!!”
The comments drew a quick and sharp rebuke from Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, who said on Twitter that he’s “extremely disappointed & we do not condone the statements made by our former bball player.”
Later Bjork added: “We use significant resources to educate our student-athletes about respect & dignity for all people & unfortunately not everyone gets it.”
Henderson later sent out tweets that tried to explain his comments. He said a friend who is a psychology major asked him to send the comments to see “how people react when others say things or act a certain way against another group of people.”
Henderson is no stranger to controversy. He arrived at Ole Miss after a short stint in jail for a probation violation, and he had a run-in with Oxford, Miss., police last summer that was part of the reason for a three-game suspension.
Hewasn’t the only athlete to face criticism because of a disparaging tweet regarding Sam, who kissed his boyfriend after learning he’d been drafted by St. Louis.
Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones was fined and will undergo educational training after he tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible” shortly after Sam’s name was announced.
Jones apologized Sunday. The Dolphins said he has been excused from team activities until he completes the training.