Elson apologizes to gay and lesbian community

Updated: April 29, 2004, 5:07 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Denver Nuggets rookie center Francisco Elson apologized Thursday for calling Kevin Garnett gay after the Timberwolves' star hit him in the groin during a game.

Elson said Wednesday that Garnett hit him during the first quarter of Minnesota's 84-82 victory the night before, then said he was gay for touching his private parts.

Elson was chastised by gay and lesbian groups for his comments and issued an apology through the Nuggets' media relations department.

"I would like to apologize to the gay and lesbian community for my comments about Kevin Garnett," Elson said. "I realize my comments were insensitive and they were out of character for me. However, I take full responsibility and I have learned a valuable lesson."

Elson has been one of the leading instigators in Denver's physical approach against Garnett during the best-of-seven series. The two had several heated exchanges in Game 3, which Denver won by 19, and it continued in Game 4.

Elson knocked Garnett into the seats behind the basket with a hard foul early in the game, and the two exchanged words after Garnett tangled with Marcus Camby while fighting for a loose ball. Elson and Garnett also reportedly yelled back and forth outside of Minnesota's bus after the game, and Elson kept the banter going with his comments on Wednesday.

"That's a cheap shot by a low-class type player," Elson said. "You don't do that. That's gay on his part. I told him that he was gay, too, for touching me in my private parts.

Garnett declined to comment on Elson's remarks or his apology.

"I really couldn't care less about what they're saying over there," he said. "I don't even know half those guys' names. I'm just focused on winning this game and moving on."

The Timberwolves lead the series 3-1 with Game 5 Friday in Minnesota.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press