Evander Holyfield apologizes for offensive comments about gays
Four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield wrote on his Twitter account that he is "deeply saddened by any offense I may have caused anyone based upon" his comments about homosexuality on the British TV show “Celebrity Big Brother.”
A 51-year-old boxing ring legend, Holyfield compared homosexuality to a "handicap" that "ain't normal" and claimed that being gay could "be fixed" during a recent appearance on the reality series.
According to the Associated Press, Holyfield was reprimanded for his comments, which included his opinion that being gay "is a choice."
"I thought the Big Brother show was about inspiring people; it wasn't that type of show," wrote Holyfield, in part, after having declared that he was "back home out of the house, glad to be home back to the Real Deal life."
"I‘d like to take this opportunity to respond publicly about my recent statements regarding homosexuality…I am a man of compassion, and I believe that God loves everybody…I am deeply saddened by any offense I may have caused anyone based upon what I said. I am sorry to any person I may have hurt or offended."
Ken Sanders, Holyfield's longtime associate, defended the ex-boxer during an interview with RingTV.com earlier this month.
“Evander is who he is, which is a wonderful guy, and I'll just put it that way. His opinion is his opinion," said Sanders, who has been associated with Holyfield's management since the 1984 Olympic bronze medalist won a unanimous decision over Lionel Byarm in November of ‘84. "But let me just put it this way, and that is that I think that everybody has a right to their opinion, and the public's going to judge him basically on his opinion.”
Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 knockouts) was last in the ring for a 10th-round knockout over Brian Nielsen in May of 2011, a bout which helped him to rebound from a fourth-round no-contest against Sherman Williams in January of that year. Prior to facing Williams, Holyfield had scored an eighth-round knockout over Francois Botha in April of 2010.Holyfield's last title bout appearance was in December of 2008, when he suffered a disputed majority decision loss to 7-foot Nikolay Valuev, who out-weighed him 310-to-214 pounds when they fought for the WBA belt.