Los Angeles (AFP) – Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen apologised on Thursday following the emergence of offensive tweets containing a racist epithet.
Just hours before NFL teams make their selections for the 2018 draft in Dallas, Allen scrambled to apologise for the posts, saying he was “young and dumb” when he wrote them in 2012-2013, according to ESPN.
The 21-year-old quarterback is regarded as a potential top-five pick in this year’s draft, which gets under way on Thursday.
However the emergence of his social media posts made in high school is likely to see him tumble down the expected pecking order.
In the tweets, which have since been deleted, Allen repeatedly uses the N-word, and in one response to the question “Why are you so white?”, replies: “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right!”
In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Thursday, Allen said the tweets did not reflect his character.
“If I could go back in time, I would never have done this in a heartbeat,” Allen said. “At the time, I obviously didn’t know how harmful it was and now has become.
“I hope you know and others know I’m not the type of person I was at 14 and 15 that I tweeted so recklessly. … I don’t want that to be the impression of who I am, because that is not me. I apologize for what I did.
“It sucks. My family is hurting. We never envisioned a day or night like this.”
Allen has been talked about as a possible number one pick in the draft, the annual event which sees the 32 teams in the National Football League take turns in recruiting the top players from college gridiron.
The Cleveland Browns, who own the number one pick in this year’s draft, are reported to be considering Allen as the top pick.
On Tuesday Allen said he would relish the challenge of being chosen No.1 overall by the Browns.
“I would love to have that pressure on my shoulders because I’ve always thrived in those situations, and I feel like Cleveland would be a great spot to be,” said Allen.
Allen’s case echoes the social media controversy surrounding Laremy Tunsil in 2016. Video of Tunsil appearing to smoke marijuana through a gas mask emerged on draft day two years ago, bumping him down the order. He was later selected by the Miami Dolphins.