Justin Thomas feels 'humiliated' and 'embarrassed' over homophobic slur
Justin Thomas has admitted to feeling “humiliated” and “embarrassed” over the homophobic slur that led to him being dropped by one of his main sponsors.
The American also said he felt “upset” rather than disappointed about that decision by clothing company Ralph Lauren to cut their ties with him over the use of a derogatory word in the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.
Speaking today ahead of his appearance in this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the world No 3 said: “I'm clearly not proud of what I said. It's humiliating. It's embarrassing. It's not me. It's not a word that I use, but for some reason, it was in there.
“And that's what I'm trying to figure out as to why it was in there. It's going to be a part of this process and training programme or whatever I need to do.
“Not only to prove to myself but prove to my sponsors and prove to those people that don't know who I am that that is indeed not the person I am.”
Despite owning up to his mistake straight away and apologising profusely for it, Thomas was dropped by Ralph Lauren in an announcement by the company last Friday.
“I think disappointed is the wrong word,” he said of that decision. “Obviously I was upset. But, at the end of the day, they have that right.
“I spoke with them along with all my sponsors. Although I apologised, it's like it was then; it's an opportunity for me to grow and I felt like it was something we could have done together and gone through that process. They just felt like they needed to move on. That's exactly what I'm doing, as well."
Asked how he’d have liked the matter to be dealt with, the 27-year-old added: Just like my other partners and other sponsorships, it's an opportunity for them to help me just like I hope to help them.“But they had to do what they had to do. You know, they are a huge, huge global brand, and I have to respect their decision.
“Like I said, I wasn't disappointed, because I put them in a terrible position. I just was more upset.
“I had a great relationship with a lot of people there, and like I said, we would have had the opportunity to do it together, and I totally respect their decision and I've moved on from it.”Thomas, the 2017 US PGA champion, is delighted that his other sponsors have decided to stick by him as he sets out at the start of his 2021 campaign in this week’s $8 million Rolex Series event in the Middle East.
“I've had great communication with all of them,” he said. “It was obviously not calls or emails I was hoping or planning to make but I needed to because I have some great long lasting partnerships with all my sponsors. They know that's not the person that I am.
“They know that's not how I act and, although they are far from brushing it to the side just like I am, they understand that this is an opportunity for me to educate myself, grow, become a better person.”
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