Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace tweeted insensitive remarks shortly after the news broke that NBA center Jason Collins came out publicly and made his homosexuality known via a Sports Illustrated article.
UPDATE: Monday, April 29, 4:15 p.m. ET by Donald Wood
The Miami Dolphins have released a statement on the Twitter incident involving free agent acquisition Mike Wallace:
Mike Wallace has apologized for his comments, and we have addressed the matter with him. Mike’s comments do not reflect the views of the Miami Dolphins. We believe in a culture of inclusiveness and respect, and any statements to the contrary are in no way acceptable to our organization. We will address the entire team about our policy of inclusion and make sure they all understand the importance of respecting individual choices.
---End of update---
Wallace has since deleted the tweets in question and apologized to those offended by his initial comments:
Mike Wallace @Wallace17_daKid
Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don't understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended2013-4-29 17:31:11
The comments come on the heels of dozens of professional athletes (including Kobe Bryant) and big-name celebrities (such as The Rock) praising Collins for having the courage to make his announcement and standing up for his beliefs.
Kobe Bryant @kobebryant
Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU2013-4-29 16:01:42
Dwayne Johnson @TheRock
Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal2013-4-29 16:56:35
For Wallace to make disparaging comments today only exposes an unacceptable level of ignorance toward the topic at hand, and that’s what the wide receiver admits in his apology tweet.
Instead of punishing Wallace for his comments, this should be a lesson from which the entire league and sports community learns. Just like the NHL and its partnership with the You Can Play Project, Roger Goodell and the NFL officials must do everything they can to make the concerted effort to avoid this kind of ignorance in the future.
The NFL is the premier sporting league in the United States and should be on the cutting edge in terms of acceptance. With Wallace’s comments on the topic, there should be a new focus on educating the players to avoid this kind of misconception in the future and teaching the young players before they make these same mistakes.
Gay athletes have every right to play the same sports in the same leagues as everyone else.
If these openly gay players feel it’s their prerogative to announce their sexual orientation to the public—few raise an issue when mainstream athletes talk about being straight—they should be applauded and celebrated for their strength, not questioned for their decision.
Instead of Wallace worrying about the sexual orientation of anyone else, maybe the wide receiver should be preparing to live up to the scrutiny he will face after signing a five-year deal worth $60 million (h/t ESPN).