Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has stressed his regret over a recently unearthed homophobic comment.
Earlier this month, the Detroit Free Press reported on a homophobic remark that Campbell, 44, made while attending Texas A&M University in 1998.
Campbell, then 22, told 40,000 people at a pep rally that he was proud to attend a college where “men like women and women like men.”
A few days after the event, Campbell offered an apology to the Chronicle of Higher Education, writing, “I offended some people, and I’m sorry for that. It was heat of the moment. It’s not necessarily that I directed it at anyone.”
This past Thursday, Campbell, 44, echoed his regrets during a conference call, the Detroit Free Press reports, calling the incident a “bonfire comment.”
“I went to Texas A&M but it was a rivalry game for us. And so you’re in front of the student body,” he said. “I was 22 years old and I…made a comment I shouldn’t have made is exactly what it was. And at the time I was, ‘Oh, man, this is, you know’ — I thought it was something exciting.”
Campbell continued: “And I remember I got home and who is now my wife, my fiancée at the time, was like, ‘Oh, my God. What have you done?’ But she was right. It slapped me right in the face after I had talked to her.
“And look, I’ve apologized for it and it was something — I was young and I wish I wouldn’t have said it. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have. But, you know, here we are and it’s out there and all I can do is apologize for it.”
Prior to Campbell’s hiring, Detroit Lions team president Rod Wood told reporters that the team was looking for a couch who would help create “a culture that is open, inclusive, where everybody is pulling together as a team and, in one word, communication is paramount and everybody is doing the right thing for the Detroit Lions.”
The resurfacing of Campbell’s comments was somewhat overshadowed after Detroit Free Press reporter Marlow Alter, who wrote the article, was found to have tweeted the anti-gay slur “fag” several times between 2011 and 2012.
Alter had to issue his own apology after writing about Campbell’s 1998 comment, saying there was “no excuse” for his tweets, some of which also included a racist slur for Black people.
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