Not everyone is happy that football draft prospect Michael Sam is poised to become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
Steve Elkington, a PGA Champions Tour golfer from Australia, set off a Twitter firestorm Tuesday when he posted a series of homophobic tweets about the Missouri All-American.
“ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at NFL combine…. (sic) No one else expected to throw today,” Elkington wrote in the tweet that drew the most flak, generating dozens of critical replies.
“BREAKING: Irrelevant golfer makes awful joke,” read a tweet from user @zoowithroy in response.
Later, Elkington attempted to backtrack, deleting his controversial posts and tweeting the following to Yahoo Sports blogger Shane Bacon:
@shanebacon I'm for Sam I'm against ESPN telling me he's gay....— Steve Elkington (@elkpga) February 25, 2014
Elkington later tweeted a convoluted message using racially insensitive language to explain his earlier posts.
It goes back to "a ball hit an oriental spectator".There's no oriental spectators..There just spectators.."like m Sam...He's just an athlete— Steve Elkington (@elkpga) February 25, 2014
The golfer then told Bacon that he deleted the tweets because the "tour asked me to."
Bacon followed up by tweeting a link to what he said was an official response from the PGA Tour: "Under our regulations, conduct unbecoming a professional includes public commentary that is clearly inappropriate or offensive. With respect to this matter, and consistent with our longstanding policy, we do not comment on player disciplinary matters."
While Elkington, 51, has played professional golf for 29 years, he appears to be more famous lately for his social media gaffes than his 10 PGA Tour wins. Earlier this month, he posted an offensive tweet about a female golf writer’s body, and in July he tweeted a racial slur about people of Pakistani descent.