Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell was the subject of some scrutiny when he was reported to be a candidate for the team’s job over a remark he made at a pep rally about 20 years ago.
A Detroit Free Press report emerged Friday highlighting Campbell making an anti-gay remark when he was a tight end for Texas A&M in 1998. The report said Campbell made the comment during a pep rally that he liked that he was going to a school where “men like women and women like men.”
Campbell would apologize later, telling a local newspaper: “I offended some people, and I’m sorry for that. It was heat of the moment. It’s not necessarily that I directed it at anyone.”
The remark was brought up again Thursday, and Campbell apologized again.
“It was something I was young and I wish I wouldn’t have said it, and If I could go back I wouldn’t have,” Campbell told 97.1 The Ticket. “But here we are and it’s out there, and all I can do is apologize for it.”
He added: “It was a bonfire comment. You’re in front of the student body, I was 22 years old and I made a comment I shouldn’t have made, is exactly what it was.”
“At the time, I thought it was something exciting, and I remember I got home and my fiancé at the time, who is now my wife, was like, ‘Oh my god, what have you done?’ But she was right, and it slapped me right in the face after I had had talked to her. Look, I apologize for it.”
Campbell will take over for Matt Patricia and interim coach Darrell Bevell in Detroit. Campbell’s only head coaching experience came when he served as an interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2015 and was 5-7 in 12 games. He was recently on Sean Payton’s staff with the New Orleans Saints.