Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes took to Twitter this week to post what is his idea of a joke.
'I’m homophobic just like I’m arachnopobic,' he tweeted. 'I have nothing against homosexuals of spiders but I'd still scream if I found one in my bathtub.'
The backlash was immediate.
'Gotta hand it to
@BrandonSpikes55 for crafting a tweet that makes him sound simultaneously like a tough guy homophobe AND a complete weenie,' tweeted one man.
Another wrote: 'It's a game that represents a product of integrity making homophobic jokes as a professional is a disgrace to that product.'
Then there was this tweet: 'Your homophobic jokes make me as a New England Patriots fan for most of my life ashamed. I hope the Patriots suspend you.'
One follower had this advice: 'Really dude? Love you as a player, but kill the joke-telling. Bite Me !!!'
But Spikes has his defenders including one man who tweeted: 'Don't conform to being PC online like other athletes. Be you. That's what Twitter is all about and that's why we follow you.'
Spikes, who re-tweeted both the pro and con comments, tried to diffuse the situation with this follow-up tweet: 'PEOPLE !!!! It’s a joke … seriously a JOKE !!! Chill out.'