The tweet was quickly condemned as hateful by people on Twitter. But Jones maintained his comments, sending more than 50 tweets to his critics for five hours.
“I STAY ON WHAT I SAY. Don’t regret anything. I apologize to whom ??? He wrote.
The team said Jones was released from the list in a Twitter statement on Sunday.
“We support the LGBTQ2 + community and strongly condemn the language used by Christion Jones. There is no room for such a comment on our team, “the statement said.
The Canadian Football League released its own statement on Sunday afternoon, saying there is no room in the league for comments that disparage people on the basis of religion, race, gender or of sexual orientation.
“Our league does not pretend to perfection, but it strives to be inclusive, to accept and even celebrate our differences, and to respect and honor human rights,” said the Commissioner of the CFL, Randy Ambrosie.
Critics of Jones have argued that he uses his public platform of over 10,000 subscribers to disparage LGBTQ relationships in a way that contributes to discrimination. In response, he accused his critics of trying to censor him.
Some Twitter users have started tagging the Edmonton football team account in response, asking the team if they would tolerate a player’s homophobic comments. The team, along with the rest of the CFL, has adopted Pride Month in public campaigns, modifying its logo to display the rainbow flag.
Jones, originally from Alabama, came to Edmonton in August 2019, following an exchange with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Janis Irwin, gay NDP MP and LGBTQ critic, called Jones’ original tweet disturbing.
“I don’t want a young person to think that what he chooses to like is wrong, because it is not,” she said. “It really hit a lot of us, which is why I think the community reacted so quickly.”
Although Irwin wants to see Jones apologize, she is also not sure that firing him is the right answer. She has offered to help educate him about LGBTQ issues in her riding, which includes the Commonwealth Stadium.
“I want to give him the benefit that he was not willing to give to our community,” she said in an interview before the team made its decision. “I would be willing to share my story and the stories of so many people in our community. ”
When former MPP Graham Sucha suggested that Jones reach out to Alberta’s LGBTQ community and offer contacts, Jones declined. “I’m a black man in America, I’m going to find out,” he tweeted in response.
“It is absolutely not about anyone trying to silence someone and be racist towards them. It’s about ending homophobia, and his tweets were clearly homophobic, “said Irwin.
It is not the first time that a CFL player has been publicly convicted of homophobic language. In 2014, the league fined at least three players for commenting on Michael Sam, the first openly gay player recruited into the National Football League.