Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Arland Bruce issued a statement of apology on Tuesday regarding a post he made on social media about openly gay football player Michael Sam.
"First, I would like to offer my deepest and sincerest apologies for any harm I have inflicted on University of Missouri defensive lineman, Michael Sam," the statement read. "Michael Sam is someone's son, someone's brother and it is neither my business nor my right to comment on his sexual orientation. My comment on Instagram was inappropriate and disrespectful, and I apologize for the lack of discretion."
Bruce was fined on Tuesday by the CFL for a crude posting on social media urging Sam to "submit to God."
"The comments made by these players are extremely disappointing and do not represent the CFL's views or the views of the vast majority of our players," CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a statement.
"The CFL is supportive of openly gay athletes in professional sports and we commend the courage shown by Michael Sam. During the off-season, we have been working with an organization that specializes in this subject and look forward to announcing a formal partnership with them in the near future."
The 36-year-old Bruce, a three-time CFL all-star and two-time Grey Cup champion, has played 11 seasons with Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton, B.C. and Montreal. The Olashe, Kan., native is going into his second season with the Alouettes.
The Alouettes released a statement saying they "unequivocally denounce the regrettable comments made by Arland Bruce III. The statements and feelings expressed by Bruce III are disappointing and do not reflect the opinions and values of the Montreal Alouettes Football Club."
In the same statement, Alouettes general manager and head coach Jim Popp said: "Our organization supports all types of diversity. Every individual is unique and free to make his or her own choices. We evaluate players, coaches and support staff based on their skill set and not by gender, colour, religion or sexual orientation. The Montreal Alouettes have a simple criteria to determine who can be a member of our organization. We seek individuals who will make a positive contribution to our team goals and to the Montreal community."
Popp later said that no decision has yet been made on whether Bruce will remain with the team. He did not rule out releasing the veteran.
"As an organization, we'll discuss the matter thoroughly and decide what to do next," said Popp.
The following is the full statement released on Tuesday night:
"First, I would like to offer my deepest and sincerest apologies for any harm I have inflicted on University of Missouri defensive lineman, Michael Sam.
Michael Sam is someone's son, someone's brother and it is neither my business nor my right to comment on his sexual orientation. My comment on Instagram was inappropriate and disrespectful, and I apologize for the lack of discretion.
I apologize to fans, teammates, and everyone else who has worked with me, supported me and believed in me throughout my career. I not only respect the game of football, I respect everyone who plays it, and it was not my intent to negatively affect anyone, especially this young, up-and-coming football phenom.
I would welcome Michael Sam on my team any day, as I have no ill will towards anyone simply because they are gay. I have a brother and a half-brother who are gay, both of whom I love and respect greatly.
To the Montreal Alouettes, the CFL/ CFLPA and the NFL/NFLPA – you are outstanding organizations that give many great men the opportunity to play this beautiful game. I have been very blessed to play on your team and in your league, and I am sincerely sorry for any adverse effects you have had to endure due to my actions.
Finally, I want to make it very clear that my thoughts and opinions are my own and do not reflect those of either organization or anyone who is associated with me."