The unfiltered personality of outgoing Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson is part of what made him such a polarizing player on the hardwood. Henderson's impulsive behavior resulted in a strange Twitter rant after the St. Louis Rams selected Missouri's Michael Sam in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft Saturday, making him the first openly gay player drafted into the league.
At first Henderson's series of tweets displayed bigotry and ignorance, but then he claimed it was for a friend's psychology project.
Henderson claimed Monday he would be boycotting ESPN since the network broadcast from Sam's home as the Rams drafted the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year (warning: tweets contain NSFW language):
A lot of backlash followed, which led to Henderson calling out those who chastised him for his opinion:
Rebels athletics director Ross Bjork wasn't too pleased with what Henderson initially had to say:
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports weighed in on Henderson's comments, suggesting the former Rebel won't be drafted in the NBA:
But then things took a turn, as Henderson claimed his friend told him to tweet what he did in order to gauge people's reactions to his antics for a psychology experiment of sorts:
What compelled Henderson to use the "#SICKENING" hashtag seemed to stem from the fact that ESPN showed Sam kissing his boyfriend after the Rams selected him. The vitriol apparently surprised Henderson, along with how split the reaction was:
As far as his actual views, Henderson didn't commit either way but noted that his previous, apparently bigoted remarks were purely for his friend's benefit:
Henderson then apologized for yanking everyone's chain:
Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com weighed in once Henderson was done:
The Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger brought up an interesting point with regard to Ole Miss:
While Sam was a productive college player at Mizzou and made history as the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, Henderson was talented but very inconsistent and encountered a slew of off-court issues. Chief among his transgressions was getting caught with marijuana and cocaine in July 2013, which ultimately got him suspended for the first three games of the 2013-14 campaign.
This past season, Henderson averaged 19 points as a senior but shot a meager 35.3 percent from the field. Between that inefficiency as a scorer, a checkered past and Monday's strange saga directed at Sam and ESPN, there's little chance any NBA team would take a chance on Henderson in the future.
Sam will be facing a lot of media attention and will generate a slew of diverse reactions due to his unique circumstances, but he will have no trouble dismissing this commentary. Henderson may have had noble intentions for a friend, but this was overall in rather poor taste even if it was in the name of research—though it did cause a huge reaction.
Like the results he produced at Ole Miss, this theatrical social media routine Henderson pulled off is little more than noise without any substance.