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The St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam during the last round of the NFL draft, making him the first openly gay NFL player in history. While many of the reactions on social media were positive, especially after ESPN broadcast footage of him kissing his boyfriend after he got the news, two NFL players have been singled out for their strong negative response. While one player has apologized, the other is standing by his remarks.
After Sam was drafted, the Miami Dolphins’ Don Jones tweeted “OMG” and “horrible.” According to ESPN, Jones issued a lengthy apology, but is still being reprimanded by the team. He will have to go to educational training before he can return to team activities and received a fine.
“I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media,” Jones said in a statement. “I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment.”
Jones later explained, “I sincerely apologize to Mr. [Stephen] Ross, my teammates, coaches, staff and fans for these tweets. I am committed to represent the values of the Miami Dolphins organization and appreciate the opportunity I have been given to do so going forward.”
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin called the tweets, which were deleted, “inappropriate and unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, retired running back Derrick Ward is standing behind his controversial comments. “I'm sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv. I'm fine with it being a new day in age but for him to do that on National tv is disgusting. Gay or not,” Ward wrote. “Man U got little kids lookin at the draft. I can't believe ESPN even allowed that to happen.”
Later, Ward continued defending his right to express his opinions. He even said that he was receiving death threats.
The Rams used the 249th pick in the draft to take Sam, who played on the Missouri Tigers in college.