Neil Francis, a former Ireland rugby star, has apologized for claiming that “homosexual people” have no interest in sports.

During an appearance on Newstalk radio's Off The Ball show, Francis was asked to comment on the coming out of Michael Sam, the college football player headed for the NFL draft.

“Professional sport, by its very nature, doesn't promote [homosexuality],” Francis said.

“If you've ever sat down with, you know, homosexual people, and asked them what their interests are, very often they have no interest in any kind of sport. That's my experience from sitting down with them. I've done it on a regular basis.”

Francis, who retired from the game in 1996 and is now a sports commentator, stated that the rugby locker room was a “homophobic environment” and insisted that he was not stereotyping.

“A lot of people would sort of say, 'Well, you know … sort of what you've said really is stereotyping.' But, you know, I don't care. I'm here. I'm gonna express an opinion. And that's what I think.”

Appearing on Today FM's The Last Word, Francis apologized.

“Listening to what I said, on reflection, I probably said the wrong things and some of the things I said were extremely clumsy,” Francis said. “On reflection, I would like to withdraw those comments and apologize profusely and unreservedly.”