Metro Weekly

NFL Star Lamar Jackson Disputes Claims He Issued “Anti-Gay” Tweet

Baltimore Ravens quarterback accuses reporter of "defamation of character," claiming the tweet did not disrespect LGBTQ people.

Lamar Jackson, Ravens, Baltimore, quarterback
Lamar Jackson – Photo: All-Pro Reels, via Wikimedia.

NFL star Lamar Jackson is pushing back against a reporter’s claim that he tweeted an “anti-gay” phrase.

The Baltimore Ravens quarterback was on social media following his team’s heartbreaking loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, in which the Jaguars scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to edge past the Ravens, 28-27. Some people on Twitter criticized Jackson’s throws, his playing style, and even the amount of money he’s worth as an NFL-caliber starting quarterback.

One critic of the game was frustrated that the Ravens’ kicker, Justin Tucker — who has been among the most reliable players at his position in the league — missed a field goal that would have allowed the Ravens to escape with a 30-28 win over Jacksonville.

That user tweeted that the Ravens should allow Jackson, who is nearing the end of his five-year contract with the team, to leave in free agency at the end of the season, rather than paying him hundreds of millions of dollars as part of a multi-year contract, because “games like this should not come down to” relying on Tucker to score points.

“Let Lamar walk and spend that money on a well-rounded team,” the critic tweeted, appearing to heckle Jackson for his performance, according to The Associated Press.

Jackson responded with a vulgar tweet, writing: “Boy STFU y’all be cappin too much on this app mf never smelt a football field never did s–t but eat d–k.”

Writing about the interaction with the fan, Jamison Hensley, a reporter who covers the Ravens for ESPN, claimed that the tweet included an “anti-gay” phrase.

But Jackson lashed out at Hensley on Twitter, claiming the reporter was misrepresenting the content of the tweet, which has since been deleted.

“This is Defamation of my character,” Jackson tweeted at Hensley. “Because not once have I ever mentioned or disrespect anyone’s Sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, Religion or Race. Your [sic] reaching…”

Jackson, who completed 16 of 32 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown, and ran 14 times for 89 yards while losing a fumble, was visibly frustrated after the game, in which key members of his receiving corps dropped at least four passes, including two potential touchdowns.

“I don’t like losing,” he said during a post-game press briefing. “Nobody likes losing, but it is what it is.”

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters on Monday that he had spoken with Jackson about the since-deleted tweet.

“I talked to him. I heard about it last night, talked to him this morning,” Harbaugh said. “I talked to him on the plane, too, a little bit, but that was about other things and things about the game. I talk to these guys. … We talk a lot about football, but we also talk a little bit about that stuff, too, what goes on in terms of the media and everything. Really, you just beg guys not to get into the Twitter world right after the game, especially after a loss. It’s never going to be positive. It’s not going to be a nice place.”

Harbaugh continued, saying that Jackson’s tweet reflected the sour mood that Jackson was in after being attacked by others on social media, which was “out of character” for Jackson.

“[T]hat’s not the way he speaks, that’s not the way he talks, it’s not the words he ever uses. I’ve never heard him say things like that before, but like you said, he wants to win,” Harbaugh said. “I’m sure he’s frustrated, just like we all are, and that’s just a place you just don’t want to live right after a game. I know he understands that.”

Harbaugh also suggested that the Twitter user may have been “baiting” his quarterback into issuing a retaliatory response, according to Fox News

“Lamar Jackson — you’ve been around him — he has one of the biggest hearts of anybody I know. You all have seen him, the way he treats people, the way he treats kids, the way he treats the media,” Harbaugh continued. “He’s also one of the biggest competitors I’ve ever met, so those kinds of conversations he takes very seriously. So, you get trapped sometimes by someone who’s baiting you just a little bit, and you can’t live there. It’s not important. I see you shaking your head, and you’re right. That’s something I love about him, but I think that’s not a place he wants to be in, [and] those are certainly not things he wants to say.”

The Ravens currently enjoy a 7-4 record, which ties them with the Cincinnati Bengals for first place in the AFC North standings. They next face the Denver Broncos at home in Baltimore on Sunday.

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