Miami Dolphins defensive back Don Jones has been fined an undisclosed amount by the team following an incident on Saturday where he sent out a tweet critical of Michael Sam. Jones has also been banned from team activities until he undergoes sensitivity training.
After St. Louis selected the openly gay Sam with the 249th overall pick in the seventh and final round of the NFL Draft, Sam was caught on camera kissing his boyfriend in celebration. Just after the kiss happened, Jones tweeted ‘OMG’ and ‘Horrible.’
On Sunday night, Jones apologized for sending out the two tweets.
“I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media,” Jones said in a statement. “I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment. I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team and I wish him all the best in his NFL career.”
Jones didn’t just apologize to Sam either. He also apologized to the Dolphins: “I sincerely apologize to Mr. Ross, my teammates, coaches, staff and fans for these tweets,” Jones said. “I am committed to represent the values of the Miami Dolphins organization and appreciate the opportunity I have been given to do so going forward.”
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During the NFL Draft, plenty of young men kissed and shared PDAs with their significant others or wives.
There was no talk, no debate of heterosexuals sharing love and emotions with their significant others. However, seeing Michael Sam kiss his boyfriend Vito — a proud black gay man kissing his Caucasian boyfriend — makes some people uncomfortable.
Michael Sam is a person who has been through the trials and tribulations of coming out, first to his college teammates and then the world. The former Missouri star being selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round Saturday was a moment they shared, something that has never happened and right then and there they deserve to share that special moment together. America witnessed it.
What America — and everywhere else — doesn’t need is reactions like that of Ole Miss basketball player Marshall Henderson (though Henderson claims his words were only an “experiment”). Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, failure to understand how monumental the draft choice and subsequent kiss is becomes foolhardy on many levels.
Millions of people have had to hide over the years — whether moments of great triumph or failure. In life, there’s nothing better than having your significant other there for you during a critical event.
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The St. Louis Rams made history on Saturday, taking former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam in the seventh round of the NFL draft, making Sam the first openly gay player to ever be selected.
And over the last couple days, the footage of Sam learning of his selection and celebrating with his family and boyfriend has gone viral, with the clip of a teary-eyed Sam and his boyfriend sharing a hug and a kiss becoming a regular in ESPN’s SportsCenter rotation.
For most, the scene has resonated as a powerful symbol of a changing landscape in the macho world of professional athletics, but for some less progressive minds in the sports world, the smooch has been portrayed as distasteful, and those offended by the show of affection haven’t been shy about taking their thoughts to Twitter.
It started on Sunday with Miami Dolphins cornerback Don Jones, who was fined an undisclosed amount and excused from team activities after sending a tweet that described the video of Sam and his boyfriend as “horrible.”
The post would have been a poor choice for any NFL player to send out, but was particularly noteworthy coming from a Dolphins player, considering the turmoil the team went through this past season amid the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying scandal.
Unfortunately, the negative reaction didn’t stop there, and on Monday, former Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson — no stranger to controversy, himself — posted a series of tweets to the 67,000 followers of his Twitter account in response to Sam’s celebration:
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