US: NFL player disciplined for homophobic tweet has ‘learned’ from sensitivity training
Don Jones, the Miami Dolphins player sent to sensitivity training about a homophobic tweet about Michael Sam’s televised gay kiss, has said he is happy that the experience has taught him more about respect and tolerance.
“I didn’t intend [any] harm,” he told the Miami Herald. “I just made a bad mistake. I had to learn from it.”
He continued: “I don’t have [a] problem with gay [people]. Shoot, I do have a bunch of family members that are gay. My brother, my cousins. I never really had a problem.”
Coach Joe Philbin commended Jones, saying: “All the feedback we got from the educational piece was very positive. He’s been a good teammate throughout, since he returned to the team. I think he’s a thoughtful individual. I think he understands the impact that actions and words can have on others. He’s really done well.”
Jones added: “I learned I can’t be judgmental; I have to respect what everybody’s doing.”
When openly-gay NFL player Michael Sam made history as he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, he celebrated by sharing an onscreen kiss with boyfriend Vito Cammisano.
According to a poll shortly afterwards, 47 percent of Americans felt that the kiss was inappropriate for television.
After Jones tweeted that the kiss was “horrible”, the Miami Dolphins issued a fine and suspended him from team practice until he completed “sensitivity training”.
At the time, Louisiana radio host Jeff Crouere called this a “re-education camp” akin to indoctrination methods used in “Red China, Cambodia, Vietnam and other countries [by] communist tyrants”.
However, Jones seems pleased with the outcome. He commented: “I definitely think all of it’s behind me. I just try to move forward and go on as a team. I’ve learned. I feel pretty good.”
Last month, Sam made an emotional speech as he accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards (ESPYs).
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