An innocent tweet by former Rutgers defensive lineman Eric LeGrand at Olympic sprinter Lolo Jones has resulted in a Twitter backlash against Jones.
LeGrand, who suffered a spinal injury in a game against Army on Oct. 16, 2010 which left him paralyzed from the neck down, frequently uses Twitter to engage with fans and other athletes. On Tuesday night he tweeted "@lolojones want to race me?" to which Jones responded "Get Checked for a concussion. Clearly, u've been hit in the head... Cos u arnt beating a track athlete."
Later on, Jones seemed to have realized that LeGrand, currently in a wheelchair as he continues his quest to walk again, is world famous as a motivational speaker and author. She backed off her comments when she learned of his injury by typing that "No, dnt know. sry dont know every football player. He challenged me 2 a race & I responded."
Jones further clarified her thoughts to Yahoo! Sports.
"I'm truly sorry if I offended anyone by my tweet," Jones said. "When Eric challenged me to a race earlier all I knew was that he was a football player, but certainly had no idea he had become paralyzed from a football injury. I thought I was tweeting in good fun like I always do with the many athletes who challenge me to races."
This past summer before the Olympics, Jones made headlines for tweeting at Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. She, like Tebow, is a self-proclaimed virgin and a born-again Christian.
When reached by Yahoo! Sports, LeGrand declined comment. He did tweet at Jones "didnt take it personal,understand where ur coming from. All good."
Last year, LeGrand was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as his return to the football field at Rutgers' High Point Solutions Stadium was named the "Moment of the Year." In July, he was given the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs. This past spring, following what would have been the conclusion of his senior season when he would have been eligible for the NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed LeGrand to an NFL contract. The Buccaneers are coached by LeGrand's former head coach, Greg Schiano.
"I really appreciate that Eric understands my mistake and acknowledges that there was no ill will intended," Jones said. "I've become familiar with his story tonight and he is certainly an inspiration to so many people, which I really admire."
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed @KristianRDyer
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