Kyler Murray, the star quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners, won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in what was undoubtedly one of the biggest moments of his budding sports career. Unfortunately for Murray, the night ended with controversy surrounding comments he made as a young teenager.
Shortly after Murray's crowning college sports achievement, USA Today writer Scott Gleeson, who covers "social issues through a sports lens," published a story criticizing Murray for seemingly anti-LGBT tweets he made as a 15-year-old teenager.
But the Oklahoma quarterback's memorable night also helped resurface social media's memory of several homophobic tweets more than six years old.
When Murray was 15 years old, he tweeted at his friends (via his since-verified Twitter account) using an anti-gay slur to defame them. Four offensive tweets remained active on his account late Saturday night...
Gleeson's story quickly garnered attention online, but received a response he likely did not anticipate.
What was the reaction?
USA Today received widespread condemnation on social media for publishing the story — and even attempting to reach Oklahoma University's athletic department for comment — on a night of celebration for both Murray and Oklahoma University.
Can someone organize a boycott of USA Today?
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) December 9, 2018
They didn't "surface." You dug them up. https://t.co/7IgwRrG50J
— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) December 9, 2018
“When Murray was 15 years old, he tweeted at his friends (via his since-verified Twitter account) using an anti-gay slur to defame them"
Using dumb crap he tweeted when he was 15 to ruin the greatest achievement of his life.
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) December 9, 2018
Shame on @ScottMGleeson and @USATODAY for tearing down a guy over tweets made when he was 14 and 15 years old solely because he got an award in sports. Shame on them.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) December 9, 2018
Judging people's character in adulthood by what they post on social media at the age of **15** is beyond moronic; it's oppressive. I'm so glad the internet didn't exist to permanently record my every utterance in adolescence https://t.co/l9R0tO7rfE
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 9, 2018
So this didn't go quite the way you thought it would. Great journamalism guys pic.twitter.com/D18s9YDBF6
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 9, 2018
Kyler Murray just had the greatest moment in his life and you guys want to ruin it with a stupid tweet you dug up from when he was FIFTEEN YEARS OLD?! If you want people to not hate you, stop doing things like this. There's no low mainstream media won't dive down to for clicks. https://t.co/j03Lp7g8VW
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) December 9, 2018
Did Murray respond?
Early Sunday morning, the star athlete aplogized for the tweets.
I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15. I used a poor choice of word that doesn't reflect who I am or what I believe. I did not intend to single out any individual or group.
— Kyler Murray (@TheKylerMurray) December 9, 2018