This week Outsports, an affiliate of the popular online sports website SB Nation unearthed a catalog of 78 homophobic and anti-gay tweets posted by 40 active NBA players, including 2011 tweets from Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig.
Outsports characterized one of Craig's tweets as the worst after he retweeted a handle calling for violence against gays using offensive language, which said they "need a bullet put in their head!" Craig added the quote "haha," after the tweet.
Both the Suns and Craig failed to initially respond to questions regarding the tweets.
In a statement shared with 12 News, a spokesperson from the team said:
“Suns Legacy Partners, LLC, which includes the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, stands with the LGBTQIA community to celebrate equality and denounce discrimination of any kind."
But now, Craig is addressing his tweets directly.
“It was 2011, man. I was young, dumb, in college," said Craig following the team's practice on Friday. "Just old tweets that I wish that I never really would have retweeted or put out, and I deeply regret it.”
Craig was a sophomore in college when he posted a series of tweets with disparaging remarks towards the gay community, often using the hashtag "no homo." Some 11-years later, Craig says he has evolved.
“I have a son now; I wouldn’t teach him that language," said Craig. "I’m trying to be a positive role model for him. Now, I have family members and friends that are a part of the LGBT community, and I fully support it.”
Professional sports leagues have also evolved in recent years, embracing openly gay athletes and a growing fan base.
Still, there are few out male athletes in the more popular leagues like the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL.
In April 2013, NBA center Jason Collins became the first openly gay and active player in a major American team sport. Nearly a decade later, Raider's defensive end Carl Nassib became the first openly gay and active player in the NFL.
Craig is not the only player to change his views towards the LGBTQ+ community.
“A great example of an athlete evolving on this issue is Tim Hardaway who in 2007 said ‘I hate gay people,’ and a few years later after a lot of talking to his family, friends and people in the community, he’s become a huge advocate for LGBTQ equality and inclusion,” said co-founder of Outsports, Cyd Zeigler.
Zeigler applauds Craig for speaking out, knowing what people tweet in the past may not reflect who they are now.
“It is important when it’s out there in the public sphere to say how you feel today," said Zeigler.
"It’s heartening to hear that Torrey took responsibility, apologize and talk about why he accepts the community and now people know he’s an accepting person and the LGBTQ community can embrace him."
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