- (Photo: Facebook/Lolo Jones)
Olympic sprinter Lolo Jones has responded to backlash on Twitter over her message directed at a former Rutgers football player with apologies on Tuesday.
Eric LeGrand, a former defensive lineman for Rutgers, is paralyzed from the neck down following a game in 2010 when he injured his spinal cord.
A frequent user on twitter, LeGrand posted a joking message to Jones on Tuesday, writing, "Want to race me?"
"Get Checked for a concussion," replied Jones via Twitter. "Clearly, u've been hit in the head… Cos u aren't beating a track athlete."
Unaware of LeGrand's condition, Jones was blasted for being insensitive and cruel as many Twitter users believed she was mocking the former athlete's debilitating injury. Shortly after her tweet, Jones must have caught on to her mistake.
"No, dnt know. Sry don't know every football player," posted the runner. "He challenged me to a race & I responded."
Later on, Jones further clarified her message on the social media site while speaking to Yahoo! Sports.
"I'm truly sorry if I offended anyone by my tweet," she said. "When Eric challenged me to a race earlier all I knew was that he was a football player, but I certainly had no idea he had become paralyzed from a football injury. I thought I was tweeting in good fun like I always do with the many athletes that challenge me to races."
LeGrand is currently in a wheelchair striving to regain use of his body through therapy. He is a world famous motivational speaker and author.
In response to the backlash against Jones, LeGrand said on Twitter that he was not offended.
"didn't take it personal, understand where ur coming from," wrote the former football player. "All good."
Jones, a born-again Christian, revealed her relief that LeGrand did not misinterpret her tweet as well as her respect for the author.
"I really appreciate that Eric understands my mistake and acknowledges that there was no ill will intended," Jones said, according to Yahoo! Sports. "I've become familiar with his story tonight and he is certainly an inspiration to so many people, which I really admire."