Public figures often learn the hard way that Twitter holds the potential to get them into trouble — at least from a PR perspective. This is specifically true, it seems, when addressing the issue of homosexuality. Not long ago, CNN’s Roland Martin was suspended — then reinstated — following tweets that were perceived to be anti-gay. Now, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is also under fire over social media messages surrounding homosexuality.
The trouble started, The Huffington Post reports, when White was asked by a fan on Twitter whether he’d rather lead the league in receiving stats or wining a Super Bowl. His response, which HuffPo dubbed “bizarre,” drew a comparison to being gay or straight, has landed him in hot water with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
He responded, saying, “Would u rather be gay or straight come on u know that answer.” Here’s the tweet that started the controversy:
Once people began responding to his analogy, White doubled down and defended himself. Here is one of the subsequent tweets he sent following the original:
One Twitter user, named “ChanceEncounter,” responded, saying, “Obviously you have freedom of speech, but we have the freedom to be mad about what you say and call you on your hateful words.” White responded two hours later with a message that read, “get off my timeline.”
By Thursday evening, he was striking a more apologetic tone, but still seemed ready and willing to defend himself amid the controversy:
After his initial apology, though, he re-tweeted (shared) the following message:
On the blog OutSports, Jim Buzinski summarized the apology and the follow-up messages as follows:
So, those who criticized him were “haters” whom he was giving the middle finger to. In addition, he retweeted a lame joke about how apologizing is itself gay. White reaffirmed he is a jackass and would have been better off not trying to fake apologize.
This obviously isn’t the first Twitter controversy surrounding the controversial social issue (i.e. homosexuality) and it certainly won’t be the last. As of Friday morning, White has been relatively quiet about the online scuffle.
(H/T: The Huffington Post)