Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, the starting quarterback for the University of Oklahoma, has apologized for homophobic tweets he made as a teenager, reports CBS.
Murray, a junior, won the prestigious award, given annually to college football’s most valuable player, over Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins on Saturday night.
But on the night he was being honored, USA Today reported that when he was 15 the Sooners quarterback had tweeted at some friends using homophobic slurs to insult them. At the time, Murray made at least four tweets using the offensive language.
Shortly after the news broke, 21-year-old Murray deleted the tweets and apologized for their content.
“I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15,” he tweeted on Sunday. “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.”
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
Murray also addressed the tweet in an appearance on CBS’ The NFL Today.
“You know, I was young, I own every part of it. I used a poor choice of words. At the same time, me being at this stage, having this platform, I learned from it,” he said. “It’s critical for me, crucial to me that I move on from it, but at the same time, own up to what I said and move on and learn from it.”
Murray, who excels at baseball as well as football, has signed a $4.66 million contract with the Oakland Athletics after being selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft in June. While some sports fans have speculated that he might be enticed to play in the National Football League if he’s drafted high, his agent, Scott Boras, put the kibosh on those rumors, telling NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport that Murray would stick with baseball.
Murray is also the latest athlete to find themselves in the middle of a controversy based on their past statements on Twitter. Earlier this year, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen saw racist tweets from his teenage years resurface ahead of the NFL draft, when some sports pundits had predicted he would be the number-one overall pick.
Villanova Final Four Most Outstanding Player Donte DiVincenzo came under fire for a tweet quoting racist rap lyrics after helping his team win a national title.
And in July, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Josh Hader was forced to apologize and undergo sensitivity training after homophobic and misogynistic tweets were dredged up while he was playing in the MLB All-Star Game.