The Miami Dolphins have fined and suspended a player for his negative Tweets about Saint Louis Rams' draft pick Michael Sam, shortly after the first openly gay NFL player was drafted on Saturday.
Sam was drafted by the Rams in the 7th round, the 249th pick overall, and was shown on ESPN receiving the news while standing next to his boyfriend Vito Cammisano. After weeping while receiving the news that he would play professional football next year over the phone, Sam kissed Cammisano, embraced him, before kissing him again.
In response to Sam and Cammisano's public display of affection, Don Jones, a backup defensive back for Miami tweeted "omg" and "horrible."
Jones, who has since been fined an undisclosed amount and barred from team activities until he completes sensitivity training, apologized on Sunday.
"I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media," said Jones, who was drafted in 2013, in the seventh round, one slot after Sam. "I take full responsibility for them, and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment."
"I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team, and I wish him all the best in his NFL career. I sincerely apologize to Mr. [Stephen] Ross, my teammates, coaches, staff and fans for these tweets. I am committed to represent the values of the Miami Dolphins organization and appreciate the opportunity I have been given to do so going forward," he added.
Jones' Twitter account is now private.
Miami coach Joe Philbin said on Sunday that he and the rest of the coaching staff "were disappointed to read Don's tweets during the NFL Draft."
"They were inappropriate and unacceptable, and we regret the negative impact these comments had on such an important weekend for the NFL. We met with Don [Sunday] about respect, discrimination and judgment. These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program. We will continue to emphasize and educate our players that these statements will not be tolerated," he added.
Sam took to Twitter to express his excitement about being drafted on Saturday.
"Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every once [sic] of this to achieve greatness!!" he tweeted.
In an interview with USA Today, former NFL player Wade Davis, who since retiring has said he is homosexual, said: "For Michael, it's a little bit of relief that it's over, and you can finally say you're part of the NFL family. That is a dream come true for so many football players. That's a realization that all his hard work has paid off…Now he can really start to focus on his new journey."