END of the ROAD? Roland Martin issues statement

END of the ROAD? Roland Martin issues “Final thoughts on Super Bowl-Twitter controversy”

“Based on several tweets I made on my Twitter feed on Super Bowl Sunday yesterday, I have been accused by members of the LGBT community of being supportive of violence against gays and lesbians and bullying.

That is furthest from the truth, and I sincerely regret any offense my words have caused.

I have consistently said on television, radio, and in print, that I am steadfast against bullying. As I wrote on CNN.com, as well as said on the nationally-syndicated Dr. Phil Show, I believe parents and schools need to take an active role in ending this epidemic that afflicts kids nationwide, gay or not.

In fact, I was bullied in school, and watched another middle schooler pulled a knife on my father when he boarded our school bus and came to the defense of me and my brother. My position has been unequivocal on this issue, and will remain so.

When we witness violence in this country against someone because they are gay, or being beaten because they are Black, that speaks to a vicious cycle that seems to be never ending.

My joking about smacking someone, whether it was in response to a commercial or food they prepare for a Super Bowl party or wearing an opposing team’s jersey, was stated in jest. It was not meant literally, and in no way would I ever condone someone doing such a thing.

As I said repeatedly, I often make jokes about soccer in the U.S., and my crack about David Beckham’s commercial was related to that and not to anyone’s sexuality. To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I’m truly sorry. I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant.

I’m disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others.

As someone who has spoken out forcefully against bigotry against African Americans and other minorities, as well as sexism against women, I fully understand how a group who has been unfairly treated would be offended by such comments, and, again, I am sorry for any offense my remarks caused.

I’m disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others.

As someone who has spoken out forcefully against bigotry against African Americans and other minorities, as well as sexism against women, I fully understand how a group who has been unfairly treated would be offended by such comments, and, again, I am sorry for any offense my remarks caused.

But my focus has been steadfast and resolute in being a strong voice against such issues. My conviction has always been to speak progressively on issues confronting this country, and I will continue to do so.”

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