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Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis has apologized for using an anti-Asian slur, saying he didn't realize it was an offensive term.
On Sunday night, Davis tweeted "Gotta stop letting g—s in Miami," using a word that most often refers to people of Asian descent in a derogatory manner.
But Davis quickly deleted the tweet and sent out another one with a screenshot of an alternative definition of the word from Urban Dictionary.
That definition, which is listed on Urban Dictionary beneath the racist one, states the word is commonly "used in South Florida to describe a person who is Lame" and can be a "synonym for Lame, wack, Fool or Stupid."
"I would never offend any group of people," wrote Davis, who grew up in Miami Gardens, Fla. "You reporters can look for another story to blow up. The term was directed towards a producer claiming he 'ran Miami.' With that being said I’ll retire that word from my vocabulary giving the hard times our Asian family are enduring."
A recent report by Stop AAPI Hate documented 3,795 racially motivated attacks — verbal, physical or other forms — against Asian Americans from March 2020, when most shutdowns because of the coronavirus began, and February 2021. The novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China.
Davis apologized in another tweet and said he hadn't realized the word had "a much darker, negative connotation" than the definition he has "always" known.
"I used a term that from where I come from has always meant “lame” but I did not realize it has a much darker, negative connotation," Davis wrote. "I have learned a valuable lesson and want to apologize to anyone that was offended by seeing that word because we need to focus on helping each other."
Davis was selected by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 2018 draft and has started 44 games for the reigning Super Bowl champions, including all four games of their playoff run last season. He is a member of the team's social justice board.
"Words carry weight and it is incumbent upon all of us to have a thorough understanding of the words we choose and the effect they may have on others," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Carlton to find appropriate ways to learn from this experience and continue our joint efforts to put an end to all forms of social and racial injustices."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.