Osi Umenyiora said an online article that condemned him as sexist for wishing Eagles running back LeSean McCoy a Happy Mothers Day was "absolutely correct," as he issued an apology Thursday.
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ESPNChicago anchor Sarah Spain hit out at the Giants defensive end in an article on the network’s site dedicated to women’s sports, ESPNW, saying, "Umenyiora still thinks being compared to a woman is the ultimate insult."
Umenyiora took a shot at McCoy on Sunday, telling him to "enjoy your special day," as he reignited a long-standing feud with the Philadelphia star.
McCoy welcomed the insult, saying, "Lol let the beef begin," while former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, now with the 49ers, chimed in, too, saying, "Omg hahaha."
But Spain said in a commentary piece Wednesday that those laughing at Umenyiora’s tweet reinforced that "the sports world is still an old boys’ club."
She wrote, "To Umenyiora, saying that a man is a ‘woman’ is equivalent to calling him a ‘wuss,’ a ‘weakling’ or a ‘crybaby.’ Well if that’s what he means, he should use those words. The word ‘woman’ should not be interchangeable with these insults."
She added, "Assigning characteristics like ‘tough’ and ‘strong’ to men and ‘soft’ and ‘weak’ to women is not only lazy, it perpetuates stereotypical gender roles and can be harmful to both boys and girls. Those qualities are personality traits, not gender traits. There’s nothing soft or weak about Serena Williams or Lisa Leslie or Billie Jean King."
Umenyiora responded, "@SarahSpain is absolutely correct in her article. I wasnt thinking about it from that perspective. I apologize to any woman offended."
He also fought Spain’s corner when one of his followers criticized the reporter, saying, "you can’t joke about anything in 2012 .. There’s a sour person about every subject."
Umenyiora replied, "But you have to look at things from other people’s perspective sometimes. A joke to me and you might actually offend others."
Spain was delighted with the NFL star’s response, offering him "big props" and adding, "So fantastic of you to actually read the piece and really think about the issue."
Umenyiora, who still is in a contract dispute with the Giants, responded, "I always try and look at things from someone else’s perspective when it’s called to my attention. [Your] article is the truth."