Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell apologizes for anti-gay remark from his college days

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
 
| Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said he regretted the anti-gay remark he made when he was a college student during his introductory news conference Thursday and apologized for the comments.

Campbell was a 22-year-old senior at Texas A&M when he spoke at a pep rally for about 40,000 fans before a game against rival Texas in 1998. After expressing hatred for the Longhorns, Campbell said he was proud to attend a university where “men like women and women like men.”

A local newspaper published an apology from Campbell in the days after the event.

[ Dan Campbell: News conference has everyone ready to run through a wall ]

“I offended some people, and I’m sorry for that,” Campbell told the paper, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. “It was heat of the moment. It’s not necessarily that I directed it at anyone.”

Campbell, 44, said Thursday that he quickly regretted making the comments.

“Yeah, look it was a bonfire comment,” Campbell said during a conference call. “Texas was — I went to Texas A&M but it was a rivalry game for us. And so you’re in front of the student body. I was 22 years old and I made a comment about, you know — well, I made a comment I shouldn’t have made is exactly what it was. And at the time I was, ‘Oh, man, this is, you know’ — I thought it was something exciting.

“And I remember I got home and who is now my wife, my fiancée at the time, was like, ‘Oh, my God. What have you done?’ But she was right. It slapped me right in the face after I had talked to her. And look, I’ve apologized for it and it was something — I was young and I wish I wouldn’t have said it. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have. But, you know, here we are and it’s out there and all I can do is apologize for it.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: What Campbell’s playing days say about his Lions future: He’s ‘tough as nails’

As the Lions began their search for a general manager and head coach, team president Rod Wood outlined some criteria and said the organization would look for candidates who would instill a culture that is open and inclusive.

“I won’t share all of them with you,” Wood told reporters Jan. 5, “but I would say they focus on leadership, culture, teamwork, awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And what we’re really looking for is a culture that is open, inclusive, where everybody is pulling together as a team and, in one word, communication is paramount and everybody is doing the right thing for the Detroit Lions.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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