Former New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Hernandez is fighting back against criticism from a media campaign that he says unfairly paints him as a racist.
The campaign, led by Hernandez’s brother, also accuses him of being a racist and a drug addict.
The campaign, launched by Hernandez and his family, has already racked up more than 1 million Facebook shares.
It says Hernandez is a white supremacist who is seeking to “exterminate” black people.
But on Thursday, Hernandez issued a statement saying he’s “no racist, no drug addict, and no criminal.”
In the statement, which was published on his personal Facebook page, Hernandez wrote:”The race, class, creed, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation of any person, whether black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Arab, Mormon, or any other, is not an acceptable factor in deciding a person’s eligibility for or acceptance of membership in the National Football League.
Racism is a vile, hateful, destructive force that should never be tolerated in sports.
It is a destructive force which must be opposed and fought.”
Hernandez, who turns 43 next week, is a free agent and is considering an offer to play in the NFL.
He said he won’t accept any of the criticism that he is a racist or drug addict.
“It is an unfortunate distraction from my efforts to help build an inclusive, positive community,” he wrote.
“I know that many people will use this to attack me and my brother.
But I will not take it.”
The family of the slain Boston Marathon bombing suspect is also backing Hernandez.
Aaron Hernandez, the brother of the man who was shot dead by police outside a Boston nightclub, called the criticism “absolutely disgusting.”