An American football commentator has apologised after being suspended for using the word “gay” to describe a poor pass.

ESPN commentator Brian Kinchen was reprimanded after he allegedly made a homophobic comment when commenting on a college game between Iowa and Northern Illinois.

Kinchen said that his comments “were completely inappropriate and not at all a reflection of who I am or the way I perform my work, I have learned from my mistake and look forward to continuing my broadcasting career.”

So far there has been no conclusive decision made about the status of Kinchen’s job.

The controversy relates to his reference to a pass which said: “You can’t use your shoulder to catch a football… You’ve got to learn to be able to put the ball in your hands… Your shoulder pads are hard and stiff. Your hands are tender and they can move and caress the ball. That’s kind of gay, but hey…”

ESPN promptly suspended Kinchen, and vice president of public relations Josh Krulewitz offered this statement saying that “(t)he comments were inappropriate, and we apologise for them…”

Brian Kinchen, is a former tight end for the American football team the New England Patriots. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he became a standout player at LSU before joining the professional football ranks. He has also played for the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and the Panthers during his tenure in the NFL.

He retired after the 2000 season, headed back to his hometown and began coaching the junior high school football team. A sudden call from New England coach Bill Belichick would drag Kinchen back into the game.

The Patriots were on their way to the Super Bowl and had lost both of their starting long snappers and were in desperate need of a replacement. Kinchen agreed to join the team and helped them earn the Super Bowl title.

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