FOXBOROUGH — Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski apologized Friday for comments that were picked up on a cellphone video of him and interpreted by many as racially insensitive.
On the clip, Gronkowski, speaking into a microphone, is heard calling for an Asian male named Joe to come out to the dance floor at Bar Louie, an establishment at Patriot Place. The assembled crowd soon joins in, with the group chanting, “Joe! Joe! Joe!”
Gronkowski, who knows the man, told him that he was going to call him out to the dance floor. The man responded to Gronkowski that he doesn’t dance, but he can cook fried rice, which is what Gronkowski is heard saying on the clip: “He told me he could only cook fried rice!”
Gronkowski later jokingly referred to the man as “Leslie Chow,” a character from “The Hangover” movie.
Speaking with media for the first time this week after Friday’s practice, Gronkowski addressed the topic only after he was asked about the video clip, and whether he felt a need to explain.
“Yes. I feel bad, personally I feel bad,” Gronkowski said. “I talked to Joe, and he assured me he took no offense in any way. I know others did, and I apologize to those who took offense.”
Asked if “Joe” was the Asian man who appeared in the video, Gronkowski said he was.
“He’s a good guy, he’s a friend of mine, he’s a good dude,” Gronkowski said.
That’s the extent to which Gronkowski commented on the video clip. When pressed on it, and on whether he gets tired of seeing these videos pop up, Gronkowski said, “I’m just here to talk about the Carolina Panthers now.”
He had the same answer when a question came up linking him to the upcoming “Entourage” movie.