Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
MIAMI (AP) — Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones was fined an undisclosed amount Sunday and will undergo educational training after sending negative tweets about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft.
Shortly after the St. Louis Rams took Sam in the seventh round Saturday, Jones tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible.” 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.
“We were disappointed to read Don’s tweets,” coach Joe Philbin said in a statement. “They were inappropriate and unacceptable, and we regret the negative impact these comments had on such an important weekend for the NFL. We met with Don today about respect, discrimination and judgment. These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program.”
The Dolphins reacted swiftly to Jones’ comments in the wake of the team’s bullying scandal last year, which embarrassed the NFL and prompted a nationwide debate about workplace harassment.
Jones said he regretted that his tweets took away from Sam’s “draft moment.”
“I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round, and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team, and I wish him all the best in his NFL career,” Jones said in a statement. “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.”
Jones’ agent, Chris Martin, could not be reached Sunday for comment.
The Dolphins have had their hands full over players’ Twitter habits of late. When the squad took Tennessee tackle Ja’Wuan James with the 19th overall choice in the NFL draft Thursday, center Mike Pouncey tweeted, “Great pick! I can’t wait for our gifts he’s getting us lol.”
Pouncey was implicated in the Dolphins’ 2013 bullying scandal, in which he followed guard Richie Incognito’s lead in harassing Jonathan Martin, who left the team during the season, investigations found. Pressure on Martin to give other linemen gifts was part of an alleged pattern of harassment.
Pouncey was spoken to my team management; there have been no reports of a fine or other forms of punishment for Pouncey.