Former NFL kicker Jay Feely said he was trying to be funny when he posed in a Twitter photo standing between his daughter and her prom date holding a pistol, but in the wake of the Parkland shootings in February, social media posters did not appreciate the joke, WFLAreported.
Feely, who played in the NFL from 2001 to 2014 and is an analyst for CBS Sports, apologized Sunday.
In the photo, Feely has his left arm around his daughter and a pistol in his right hand at his side. Next to Feely is his daughter’s prom date, who is smirking.
“Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom,” Feely wrote, using the hashtag “#BadBoys.”
The reaction from some on social media was swift and critical.
“Oh yay — American dads have kicked off the season of ‘let’s pretend I’m going to shoot my daughter’s date for impugning her chastity’ pics,” tweeted Shannon Watts, who is the founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action.
“The Stoneman Douglas shooting was 2 months ago,” author Geraldine DeRuiter posted on Twitter. “But sure, let’s make jokes about murdering high schoolers.”
The backlash was vocal enough for Feely to issue an apology Sunday on Twitter.
“The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking,” he wrote. “I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue.”
Some Twitter users defended Feely’s post, noting that he was referencing the movie “Bad Boys 2.”
“He’s referencing a scene in the movie #BadBoys2,” Twitter user Mike McLeod wrote. “The kid knows it’s a joke — it’s not pointed at anyone and barely in the picture. I’m sure there’s a picture with his daughter and just the date also. This isn’t anything to blow out of proportion.