Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace fired the first controversial salvo in the backlash over the NBA's Jason Collins coming out as a homosexual.
Hours after Collins' announcement, Wallace used his Twitter page to respond, saying, "All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with with guys SMH..."
The tweet received immediate negative response, prompting Wallace to respond with, "I'm not bashing anybody don't have anything against anyone I just don't understand it."
Both tweets were taken down within minutes of their posting.
However, Wallace later retook to Twitter and posted, "Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don't understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended."
"People will say things like that. You know, I don't think it was so much homophobic as just ignorance," said Jason Parsley with South Florida Gay News. "My first thought was finally. You know, we've all been waiting for it to happen, it's just we didn't know when or where. We knew there's probably many more gay sports players out there that just haven't had the courage to yet to come out."
Wallace, who signed a five-year deal with the Dolphins that will pay him about $12 million annually, was brought to Miami to invigorate a fan base that has soured on the franchise following a number of losing seasons.
Collins coming out as gay received much of the spotlight on Monday, mostly as people wait to see how the announcement would go over inside team locker rooms and whether homosexuality would be accepted within the major American team sports.
The Miami Dolphins responded to Williams' tweet by posting a statement on their Tumblr account reading, "“Mike Wallace has apologized for his comments, and we have addressed the matter with him. Mike’s comments do not reflect the views of the Miami Dolphins. We believe in a culture of inclusiveness and respect, and any statements to the contrary are in no way acceptable to our organization. We will address the entire team about our policy of inclusion and make sure they all understand the importance of respecting individual choices.”
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade tweeted his support for Collins, writing: "Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth."