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Florida State football apologizes after Martin Luther King Jr. Day tweet draws backlash

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Florida State football apologizes after Martin Luther King Jr. Day tweet draws backlash

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The Florida State football program apologized Monday for a tweet sent from one of its accounts that attempted to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The program received social-media backlash when an account that bills itself as “the official page of Florida State football recruiting” — @FSU_Recruiting — tweeted an edited picture of King wearing a football glove and appearing to do the tomahawk chop.

The graphic also included the team’s slogan (“Do Something”) and a quote: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

The tweet drew widespread criticism on social media, with users describing it as exploitative and disrespectful to King’s legacy. It was deleted without explanation less than an hour after it was posted. 

Tweet was already deleted by @FSU_Recruiting. Here was the image they posted. pic.twitter.com/2FrTvALpaK

— Casey Fenton (@cfenton23) January 21, 2019

Later Monday afternoon, the account posted a statement apologizing for the tweet.

“In a well-intentioned effort to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. on this special day, a member of our recruiting staff created a graphic using one of Dr. King’s quotes – ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way,'” the statement read. “The quote resonated with our program’s Do Something mantra.

“However, in our attempt to more closely connect the message to FSU, we foolishly posted a graphic that was not in line with our intent. We are sorry for missing the mark in our attempt to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.”

A spokesperson for Florida State athletics did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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