Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who made critical comments of President Donald Trump on Monday, apologized on Wednesday for using the word "retarded" as part of that, saying people should first be praying for the president.
"As a man, when you make a mistake, you've got to admit your faults and correct it," McCoy said. "With me being a man of God, I made a mistake. ... When I was talking the other day, I called the president 'retarded.' Even though he doesn't make the best decisions, it wasn't my right to say that. Being being a man of God, the first thing I should have said is 'We need to pray for him.'
"The Bible calls for us to pray for all our leaders, and the Bible also says any leader in a leadership position, God has placed him there, so for me to disrespect him in that manner, I was in the wrong and I can admit that. Instead of me saying that, I retract that statement and say 'Let's just pray for our country and pray for our president. That's what I should have said. I made a mistake in saying that."
McCoy, speaking Monday, took exception to Trump's comments Friday that NFL players who protest during the national anthems should be fired, going so far as to call them a "son of a bitch." Those comments prompted a new level of protests across the NFL, including Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, who kneeled with their hands on their hearts during the anthem before Sunday's game at the Vikings.
"That dude's crazy," McCoy said Monday. "No, I don't agree with (anything) he said. I don't think (anybody does) ... It's not the last time he's going to say something stupid. It's very idiotic, what he said. It's retarded. It's very stupid. It's dumb."
McCoy reiterated Wednesday that rather than criticizing the president, the focus should be on fixing problems in the United States.
"I had a good friend let me know that that shouldn't be said," McCoy said. "If you hear anything that I say today, it's to pray for my country and pray for my president instead of getting so much pushback. There's a lot going on in this country that's a lot bigger than just one statement. With him being the leader of my country, let's pray for him and pray moving forward that he makes good decisions and the best decisiosn for our country."