Millen apologizes for inappropriate comment
Posted: Monday December 15, 2003 4:12PM; Updated: Tuesday December 16, 2003 11:23AM
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions president Matt Millen apologized Monday for using a derogatory term for gays in a heated exchange with Kansas City receiver Johnnie Morton.
Millen was talking with some Kansas City players and coaches outside their locker room after Sunday's game when he had a heated exchange with Morton, a player Millen cut after the 2001 season, after wishing him the best.
"He made an inappropriate remark, and I reacted inappropriately," Millen said. "I said something I shouldn't have, which was wrong, and I apologize for that. And I apologize to anybody that I offended with that remark."
Millen was asked if he expected to hear from the NFL about it, but he would not answer any questions.
Morton apologized for his part in the exchange, but was disappointed by Millen's choice of words.
"What he said is demeaning and bigoted," Morton told The Kansas City Star. "Jeremy Shockey got in trouble for saying it about a coach [Bill Parcells], and now we have a president of a team making statements like that. It's totally unacceptable. I have gay friends, and I don't even joke around with them like that."
Last summer, Shockey was quoted during an interview as calling Parcells a "homo" in a New York magazine article.
Millen, who has led the Lions to a 9-37 record during his three seasons in charge, has been the focus of more than one controversy.
Millen was fined $200,000 this summer by the NFL because he didn't follow the league's minority hiring policy when he hired coach Steve Mariucci. The Lions said five minority candidates turned down interviews because it appeared inevitable Mariucci would be hired.
During the 2002 season, Millen called an unidentified player a "devout coward," on Mike Ditka's Chicago radio show. Millen later apologized for the comment.
"Matt said what he needed to say last night and just now," Mariucci said Monday. "It's unfortunate. We all learn from those things, I guess."