Jumbled words

NBA star Andrew Wiggins denies calling opponent “gay” on camera, but not everyone believes him

NBA player Andrew Wiggins

Minnesota Timberwolves player Andrew Wiggins says he absolutely did not call opponent Dennis Schröder of the Oklahoma City Thunder “gay” during a postgame interview this week.

The 23-year-old guard was speaking to reporters after the Timberwolves beat the Thunder 119 to 117 Tuesday evening. When asked about Schröder, who was ejected from the game for shoving, it sounded like Wiggins replied:

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Uh, he was just gay. He was acting crazy for no reason. I look right through him. He’s not someone I look at as a problem. Not at all.”

Here’s the clip:

The media quickly latched onto the story, prompting the NBA star go on Twitter and deny accusations of homophobia, claiming he said “getting” and not the word “gay.”

Deadspin reports:

That is a clarification, not an apology, yet the coverage from a variety of outlets of Wiggins’s less-than-decipherable comment has been just as unclear. An ESPN bumper headline reads “Wiggins: Meant no disrespect with ‘gay’ remark,” while the headline on the page reads “Andrew Wiggins: Would never disrespect LGBTQIA community.” In their unbylined post, they twice directly quote Wiggins as calling Schröder “gay.”

An AP article (syndicated by NBA.com and others) was initially headlined “Wolves’ Wiggins apologizes for using gay as derogatory term,” but that was recently changed to “Wolves’ Andrew Wiggins tries to clarify postgame comments.” While the AP deleted their tweet with the original headline, the story still quotes him as saying “gay.”

Folks on Twitter seem divided over it as well.

As our friends over a Towleroad note, the NBA has punished players in the past for using antigay rhetoric. Most recently, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was fined $25,000 last November for using derogatory and offensive language in a postgame interview.

Related: After winning award for tolerance, former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire cracks homophobic “joke” in public