Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson issued his second apology in 12 months Tuesday and was told to stay away from the team while the NFL and the Chiefs complete their investigation into his use of a gay slur.
Also, a national gay rights advocacy organization called on the league and the team to take disciplinary action against the two-time Pro Bowler.
The latest chapter in Johnson’s stormy career began Sunday night when he questioned coach Todd Haley’s football credentials on his Twitter account.
He used the slur during an exchange with one of his Twitter followers. A day later, he used it again as he brushed off reporters and told them he would not comment, according to the Kansas City Star, which recorded the comment.
Haley declined to address the matter Tuesday, saying it was still being investigated.
“I’m just not going to comment any further because there is some stuff going on,” Haley said.
Johnson, who needs only 75 yards rushing to become the Chiefs’ all-time leader, apologized to Haley, the team, fans and the league “for the words I used.”
“I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate,” he said through a spokesman. “I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.”
The apology sounded similar to one he made almost exactly a year ago after one woman accused him of throwing a drink on her and another said he had pushed her. The incidents happened separately in Kansas City nightclubs and led to his being sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty to two counts of disturbing the peace.
“I’m going to work to that point to get my life back on track and know that I and I alone put myself in these critical situations and environments to where things don’t come out favorably to me,” he said on Oct. 22, 2008.
At the time, Johnson was benched for three games by then-coach Herm Edwards and suspended for a game by commissioner Roger Goodell.
On Tuesday, Johnson apologized to “all the kids who view athletes as role models. I was not a good role model yesterday and hopefully I can become a better role model. We all make mistakes, and the challenge is to learn from them.
“I will do my best to learn from this one as I move toward becoming a better person, teammate, and member of the Kansas City Chiefs team and community.”
Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, called on the NFL and the Chiefs to take disciplinary action and seize a chance to educate “on the dangers of homophobia in sports.”
Such slurs are used to “ridicule and harass young gay and transgender athletes on local sports fields across America,” Barrios said.
Barrios said he welcomed the apology.
“Larry Johnson’s apology sends an important message that there is no excuse for using anti-gay epithets,” Barrios said.
Drafted in the first round in 2003, Johnson was one of the best running backs in the NFL in 2005 and ’06, rushing for more than 1,700 yards in each season.
Hasselbeck’s daughter OK
The daughter of Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is recovering after surgery to repair injuries sustained on a family trip to Central Washington over the bye weekend.
Hasselbeck posted on his Twitter site Tuesday he had the “worst bye week ever. 6 year old daughter got hit by a dirt bike.”
The 34-year-old father of three said he spent his weekend at the hospital.
He thanked the dentist who repaired Mallory’s mouth and the staff at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. He also thanked the staff who treated Mallory at Seattle Children’s Hospital upon the family’s return home.
Marshall to host ‘Soup’
Brandon Marshall is moonlighting as a television host for a week.
The Denver Broncos Pro Bowl wide receiver will fill in on “Sports Soup” on Versus on Tuesday night. The show compiles funny and eye-popping clips from around the sports world.
Marshall said he was looking for opportunities in TV to introduce fans to a different side of him.
“I think it’s always fun to be able to joke about something that you do,” he said.
Marshall even plans to poke fun at the training camp tantrum that drew him a nine-day suspension. He’s done some sports broadcasting in the past but said that probably won’t prepare him for his hosting gig, which Marshall will shoot Tuesday morning. At least he’s familiar with the show – Marshall said he’s a fan and has watched plenty of episodes.
Marshall has 29 catches for 332 yards and four touchdowns for the undefeated Broncos this season.
A doctor’s second opinion on Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley’s broken right ankle gave Cooley hope that he can return to the field in a month. The two-time Pro Bowl player will have surgery today, and he gave details via his Twitter feed: “3 pins go in the ankle tomorrow. Hopefully be back in 4 weeks. Thanks for all the support.” Earlier Tuesday, coach Jim Zorn said Cooley would be sidelined a minimum of six to eight weeks and would probably be placed on season-ending injured reserve. ... Titans owner Bud Adams reportedly informed coach Jeff Fisher he wants Vince Young to start over Kerry Collins this weekend against Jacksonville. ... On the eve of a Congressional hearing on head injuries among NFL players, Hall of Famer Mike Ditka says he hopes the group comes to a conclusion so they can direct funding to help former players instead of paying for more studies. ... The San Francisco 49ers took a big blow to their already struggling offensive line, losing right tackle Tony Pashos for the season with a broken left shoulder blade. ... Buffalo Bills defensive back Donte Whitner has been placed in a first-time offenders program with probation for three months for a disorderly conduct case in Cleveland. ... The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released offensive lineman Marcus Johnson after his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence.