Former UNA athlete apologizes for racist Obama tweet

The tweet from Bradley Patterson
The tweet from Bradley Patterson
The athletic department's response.
The athletic department's response.
Bradley Patterson was apologetic after the incident.
Bradley Patterson was apologetic after the incident.

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - A UNA football player who sent out a racially charged tweet on Twitter is no longer on the team, according to officials.

Bradley Patterson tweeted a message that refers to President Obama by a racial epithet. That message was in reference to the president's speech interrupting a Sunday night NFL football game. Obama was speaking at a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Less than 45 minutes after his post, Patterson received a call from his coach telling him he wasn't allowed to come back to the team.

Mark Linder, the school's Athletic Director, sent out his own tweet saying, "Thx 2 everyone who brought to our attention. @UNAAthletics does not condone. He is no longer a member of the team."

A school spokesperson said the school found there's no question the tweet was issued by Patterson.

UNA President Dr. William Cale said the comment is a disgrace to the university, and he had a message for Patterson.

"If they happen to be watching this broadcast, I want them to know I'm deeply saddened by what was done and the adverse impact it has on our university and probably him as an individual," said Cale.

Patterson joined the team as a walk-on after the fourth game of this season. He has already been taken off the team's roster.

"I wasn't planning on all this happening; it just got too serious and out of hand," said Patterson.

With tears in his eyes, Patterson, a UNA freshman, talked about his recent post on Twitter.

"It really didn't occur to me until I started thinking about it late last night that I realized what I got myself into, and I realized I couldn't get myself out of it without at least asking for an apology," he said. "I want to send out thoughts and prayers to all the children and teachers that lost their lives last Friday, and may God be with them."

Patterson said he is not a racist.

"No, I was just not thinking and way over my head," he said. "I just want them to know that I ain't like that. I was raised better than that, and I just got in over my head."

With a click of the mouse, his tweet went viral - his world upside down.

"I put that on Twitter. I can't take it back, and it's always going to be in the back of somebody's mind that I said that, but I can't make them forgive me," he said.

He shared a message to his former teammates - a group of men he once fought so hard to be a part of.

"I just want to tell them I'm sorry for everything that went on. I really ain't like that. I ain't racist. I wasn't thinking last night when I put it on there, but I'm sorry to all the guys. I let them down and just don't give up on me," Patterson said.

He also wants to apologize to President Obama.

"I want to apologize to President Obama for my outbreak last night. What I said was uncalled for, but I  didn't even stop to think what he was saying before it was sent. If I could go back right now, I would change it. I wouldn't hesitate to do so," he said.

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