|ESPN.com: Golf||[Print without images]|
Former PGA Championship winner Steve Elkington used Twitter on Tuesday to criticize ESPN's coverage of Michael Sam, ridiculing the network and the former Missouri defensive end who recently announced he is gay.
Elkington said the following in a tweet that has since been deleted:
"ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at NFL combine.... No one else expected to throw today"Elkington, 51, earlier Tuesday criticized ESPN's coverage of Sam saying in another since-deleted tweet, "ESPN covering Michael Sam as a gay athlete is embarrassing ....."
Elkington later responded on Twitter in an attempt to explain his critical tweets.
@shanebacon I'm for Sam I'm against ESPN telling me he's gay....- Steve Elkington (@elkpga) February 25, 2014
"Under our regulations, conduct unbecoming a professional includes public commentary that is clearly inappropriate or offensive," the PGA Tour said in a statement. "With respect to this matter, and consistent with our longstanding policy, we do not comment on player disciplinary matters."
Sam made national headlines when he disclosed his sexual orientation on Feb. 9, and he could soon become the first openly gay player in the NFL. He worked out Monday at the scouting combine in Indianapolis and has been projected as a mid- to late-round pick in the May 8-10 draft.
Elkington, an Australian who played at the University of Houston, has nearly 60,000 Twitter followers, and several of them wrote back with their displeasure about his Sam tweets. An attempt to reach him was unsuccessful.
Typically engaging and humorous on Twitter, Elkington is no stranger to controversy on the social media platform.
Last year, Elkington came under criticism for Twitter comments made in the aftermath of a helicopter crash into a Glasgow pub.
"Helicopter crashes into Scottish pub. .. locals report no beer was spilt," Elkington tweeted about the crash.
The accident resulted in several deaths.
Last summer, while playing in the British Senior Open in Southport, England, Elkington tweeted: "Things about Southport ... fat tattooed guy, fat tattooed girl, trash, Pakistani robber guy, s**t food."
He then later tried to explain by tweeting: "Couple caddies got rolled by some Pakkis, bad night for them."
In the United Kingdom, to refer to someone from Pakistan as a "Pakki" is considered a racial slur. Elkington later apologized and was reprimanded by the European Tour.
Now on the Champions Tour, the 10-time PGA Tour winner won the 1995 PGA Championship in a playoff over Colin Montgomerie. He also won the Players Championship in 1997.