Stampederss star Nik Lewis unapologetic after tweet
By ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency
|Stampeders wide receiver Nik Lewis during practice at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alta., Nov. 14, 2012. (STUART DRYDEN/QMI Agency)
CALGARY - Thanking everyone for attending, Nik Lewis punctuated the Calgary Stampeders' first practice of the week by assuming the position he's most comfortable in: Centre stage.
Dressed down hours earlier by GM/head coach John Hufnagel and informed the entire team was banned from Twitter because of his lapse in judgment, the Stamps receiver addressed the packed huddle of media types anxious for his thoughts on The Tweet.
"I guess I'm not as funny as I thought I was," Lewis said of his offside tweet about buying O.J. Simpson's gloves and looking for a white girl named Nicole to match.
"TSN did call me the sixth funniest athlete of all-time (on a recent Top Ten list.) I tried to use my comedic rights, but it seems I went too far."
Far enough for the league to fine him an undisclosed amount of money, the coach to have a heated sit-down with him and for the media to use him like a piņata.
So, does he regret the tweet?
"I regret getting money taken out of my pocket," said Lewis, eliciting the sort of laughter he so often seeks.
"I regret saying it, but I can't take it back."
Does he apologize for embarrassing himself and his organization?
"Everything I do could be offensive to somebody," said Lewis, delivering the type of sermon he delights in.
"I'm not going to spend my life walking around apologizing to everybody. People follow me on Twitter for a reason. A lot of people have sent me letters expressing how funny they think I am and how I shouldn't change. For the people I didn't offend, thanks for the support. For those I do offend, I can't apologize every day of my life. Am I sorry you got offended? Yes. It's not my right to say what you are offended by and what you aren't offended by."
Stunningly oblivious to how his tweet offended the masses, Lewis suggested perhaps those who don't know him misinterpreted the tweet in question that read: "I just bought OJ's gloves on eBay. Now all I need is a white girl named Nicole. #MaybeALittleToFar."
Lewis had to be told how inappropriate it was by the club, which insisted he delete it.
"The people that know me know I try to be funny all the time," said Lewis who, after years of unharnessed immaturity, had done a good job the last few years letting football accomplishments overshadow his penchant for making headlines.
"I don't mean any malice by it or harm to anybody. It goes far beyond the people that know me. I will just keep my jokes to the people that know me. Is it right what I said? Probably not. In today's world, when you see comedians do it -- not saying it's right -- I wanted to be part of it."
He's somewhat fortunate to be part of the team still, as you can bet the Stamps would have considered suspending him if not for Sunday's tilt being the West final.
It's unfortunate Lewis crossed the line he did, because -- love him or hate him -- he's refreshingly entertaining for fans and the media in a sports world increasingly devoid of characters.
"It will change my approach to social media," said Lewis, of the lesson he learned the last 48 hours.
"Maybe I should dictate who follows me. Even on Facebook, I had anybody who wanted to add me as a friend. I open my life up to people. I've always thought about the closed gap between professional athletes and kids and everybody else. I'm no different than anybody else. They put me on a pedestal to be a certain type of person. I want to let kids know you don't have to live up to standards. You just have to be yourself. By no means do I go out to disrespect people."
Lewis accepts the coach's decision to stop tweeting until the season is over and is convincing when he says his focus on the game in B.C. hasn't waivered. After all, he's always managed to back up his pre-game hijinks with solid performances.
"My life has become about overcoming things and I will push through and overcome this," said Lewis.
"When I go out there on Sunday I will prove why I'm here. It's not because of Twitter. I didn't get a job because of Twitter. I got a job because I'm a good athlete."
And one hell of an entertainer.
For the most part, anyways.