University of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock apologized Wednesday after a newspaper asked him about offensive tweets he sent in middle school.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reported it received an email from a reader pointing to several tweets on the first-team All-SEC quarterback's Twitter account dating back to 2011, when he would have been 14 years old and still in the eighth grade.
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The Daily Tribune only published what it characterized as "two of the more insensitive tweets," out of five total. "Hahahah kids a faggot," read the first.
"Could geico really save u 15% or more on car insurance??…….Do black guys like flamin hot cheetos?? Hahaha no affence black guys!" read the second tweet.
The paper gave Lock a chance to respond before publication. "I was recently made aware of five tweets from my eighth grade year in middle school that were perceived as insensitive and inappropriate," he told them in a statement. "An anonymous person brought these to the attention of the Columbia Daily Tribune, and I appreciate having the opportunity to address them."
"I didn’t intend to offend anyone with those messages, but I understand that this is an example of how words, even when written by a young teenager, can be interpreted by others as newsworthy, harmful and inappropriate," he added.
Lock's apology comes after Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb and Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner apologized earlier in the week for racist and homophobic tweets dating back to when they were 17 and 18 years old.
In his column publicizing Lock's tweets, Tribune columnist Garrick Hodge nonetheless decried the growing practice of searching athletes' tweets for offensive statements sent when they were teenagers.
"The problem is, this trend of fans going through their favorite (or least favorite) player’s old tweets seems too much like a witch hunt than it does a teachable moment. In a perfect world, what this would accomplish is to serve as a stark reminder to famous athletes that what they do and say with their platform matters," Hodge wrote.