Professional basketball player Anthony Edwards has apologized for anti-LGBTQ remarks he made in a video posted to Instagram last weekend.
In the now-deleted video, the 21-year-old shooting guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves is seen rolling down a car window and making comments about a group of shirtless men, some of whom appear to be wearing harnesses.
The men are seen embracing each other and talking in a close circle. As he rolls down the window, Edwards calls the men “queer-ass n****s” while another person inside the car laughs in the background.
The video sparked criticism of the NBA star, who was the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, on social media, with some users accusing him of homophobia. Following the backlash, Edwards apologized for the video.
“What I said was immature, hurtful, and disrespectful, and I’m incredibly sorry,” Edwards tweeted on Sunday. “It’s unacceptable for me or anyone to use that language in such a hurtful way, there’s no excuse for it, at all. I was raised better than that!”
What I said was immature, hurtful, and disrespectful, and I’m incredibly sorry. It’s unacceptable for me or anyone to use that language in such a hurtful way, there’s no excuse for it, at all. I was raised better than that!
— Anthony Edwards (@theantedwards_) September 11, 2022
The Minnesota Timberwolves said in a statement that they are “disappointed” in Edwards’ actions.
“We are disappointed in the language and actions Anthony Edwards displayed on social media,” the NBA franchise said in a statement attributed to President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly. “The Timberwolves are committed to being an inclusive and welcoming organization for all and apologize for the offense this has caused to so many.”
The NBA could potentially fine Edwards because of the incident, which most likely violates its social media guidelines. Several other NBA players have previously come under scrutiny for their anti-gay rhetoric on social media.
Last year, NBA star Kevin Durant, now playing for the Brooklyn Nets, was fined $50,000 for using “offensive and derogatory language on social media” after a rant using homophobic slurs directed against actor and podcaster Michael Rapaport.
In 2011, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined a similar amount as Durant for hurling an anti-gay slur at a fan. In 2018, the NBA fined Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic $25,000 for using an anti-gay slur to describe a Chicago Bulls player in a post-game interview.
The NBA told The Hill in a statement that it is reviewing the Edwards incident.
The controversy surrounding Edwards is similar to a situation involving former Miami Heat point guard Tim Hardaway, who made anti-gay comments in a 2007 interview, claiming he wouldn’t want a gay teammate, or to be around a gay man in the locker room.
“I hate gay people,” Hardaway said in the interview with sportswriter, podcaster, and ex-radio host Dan Le Batard on Miami sports radio station WAXY-AM. “I let it be known. I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. Yeah, I’m homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world for that or in the United States for it. So yeah, I don’t like it.”
Hardaway was criticized for the remarks, and banned from appearing in an official capacity at that year’s annual All-Star game.
Hardaway has since apologized on several occasions for the comments, which he believes kept him out of consideration for the Basketball Hall of Fame until this year, finally becoming enshrined this past weekend. He attributes his anti-gay sentiments to his religious upbringing.
“I grew up in a church, and that’s the way churches were — they instilled in you that [homosexuality] wasn’t the way you should be,” Hardaway said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “I was just taught differently. Don’t talk to them, don’t mess with them, leave them alone. I never tried to talk bad about them or do hateful stuff. It was just my upbringing in church.
“But I’ll tell you this: It was so wrong of me, and people have suffered,” he continued. “I had to grow up and really do some soul-searching. What I said was just hurtful.”
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