A tearful Stephanie Rice apologized
Wednesday for an anti-gay tweet, the AFP reported.
The triple Olympic gold medalist
tweeted “Suck on that faggots” after the Australian rugby union
team, the Wallabies, pulled a come-from-behind victory against South
Africa's Springboks on Saturday.
But at a specially convened news
conference in Sydney, the 22-year-old swimming champ insisted she's
not homophobic and pleaded for a chance at redemption.
She said her comments were
“thoughtless” and “careless,” and added that she did not
intend to offend anybody.
“I've learned a lot in the last
couple of days,” Rice said. “I've learned I must think before I
speak and this has been a very important lesson.”
“I've also learned that some things
you say can mean more to others than they do to you.”
“I owe it to those who I have
offended to publicly say, I am sorry. It is not me to give offense
to other people, no matter who they are,” she added.
Rice's Twitter comments created a
firestorm of controversy and pushed luxury car maker Jaguar to dump
her as its spokesperson.
Openly gay Australian sports figures
disagreed on whether Rice is homophobic. Former rugby league star
Ian Roberts called her an “idiot,” but
Matthew Mitcham, the 22-year-old Olympic gold medal diver, came to
her defense, saying, “I know she's not homophobic because we
are good friends.”