Jay Feely spent 14 seasons in the NFL, but his time in the pro spotlight probably didn’t prepare him for the reaction to what he saw as an obvious joke.
Feely, now a commentator for CBS, tweeted a photo Saturday night showing him standing next to his daughter’s prom date with a gun at his side.
“Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom #BadBoys,” Feely tweeted.
He meant it as a joke. After all, the trope of a protective father on prom night has played a central role in several sitcom episodes and movies.
But Feely wasn’t prepared for the amount of attention his tweet received. Many accused him of being “out of touch” and “insensitive” given the country’s current debate over gun violence.
“My daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking,” he tweeted Sunday morning after the tweet went viral and drew criticism.
“I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive on that important issue,” he wrote.
The 41-year-old Feely played for the Falcons, Giants, Dolphins, Chiefs, Jets, Cardinals and Bears during his NFL career. He retired from pro football in 2014.