Marshall claims it was part of a study to help out his gay friend…
Former Ole Miss basketball star Marshall Henderson has insisted that his tweets directed at Michael Sam were meant as a project to help out a friend.
Sam became the first openly gay athlete to be drafted into the NFL on Saturday after the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round.
With cameras picking up the moment he was given the news, Sam was surrounded by family and friends as well as his boyfriend who he embraced in images that went viral.
Miami Dolphins’ Don Jones has already received a fine after making derogatory comments on social media, but Henderson has insisted that his remarks were part of a study.
“My stance on gay athletes is irrelevant,” Henderson told ESPN by phone. “The whole reason we chose to do this is because my friend is gay. If it was wrong for me to do it, so be it.”
Henderson told ESPN that his friend does not attend Ole Miss, but had asked him to tweet out something on a Sam a couple of weeks ago which he refused to do.
However, after the news on Saturday, Henderson decided to post the comment on Twitter after watching the reaction of his younger brother who was watching the show of affection between Sam and his boyfriend.
Henderson tweeted the following on Monday morning, two days after Sam was drafted by the Rams:
“Boycotting sportscenter til this michael sam nasty [expletive, expletive] is off …. My brothers are 7 and 11 and saw that!!! #SICKENING”.
However, an hour later he followed up with a number of tweets explaining himself and claimed that his friend is about to graduate in psychology and wanted to see the response and reaction from the online media world.
Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork distanced the university from Henderson’s comments and insisted that they were very disappointed in his actions.
The former college star is reportedly hoping to play professionally next season, but it remains to be seen what impact this incident has on his hopes.