OXFORD (AP) – Former Ole Miss 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 Monday morning 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, Henderson 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 responded on Twitter saying that he’s “extremely disappointed & we do not condone the statements made by our former bball player. We believe in respect & dignity for all.”
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 a string of tweets that attempted 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, known for his long-range shooting at Ole Miss, also is no stranger to controversy.
He arrived at Ole Miss after serving a short stint in jail following a probation violation and had a run-in with Oxford, Mississippi, police last summer that was part of the reason for a three-game suspension. He was also reprimanded by the NCAA in 2013 after an outburst following the team’s loss to LaSalle in the NCAA tournament.
Henderson wasn’t the only prominent athlete to face criticism because of a disparaging tweet regarding Sam, who kissed his boyfriend after learning he’d been drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.
Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones was fined an undisclosed amount and will undergo educational training after he tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible” shortly after Sam’s name was announced. The tweets were taken down a short time later.
Jones apologized for his comments Sunday and described them as inappropriate. The Dolphins said Jones has been excused from all team activities until he completes training related to his comments.