DAVIE -- Miami Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau apologized Thursday for using a slur considered derogatory to gays.
Seau, who was accepting the Dolphins' leadership award at the team's annual banquet Wednesday night, was trying to describe the relationship he shares with his teammates when he used the slur during his remarks.
``We are a unit that cares. ... I would say love and everybody would say, 'You're a faggot,' but I'm not,'' Seau said during the ceremony. ``We care in that locker room. My feminine side might come out once in a while, but I'm telling you, there is a lot of love in that locker room.''
The team quickly issued a statement apologizing for Seau's remark, and the veteran linebacker acknowledged Thursday he made a mistake.
``A joke that came out last night, due to my stupidity, is something we have to deal with today,'' Seau said at the team's practice facility. ``With that, I am very sad and I apologize. I really do. I learned a lesson, I know that. The things we say, the words are very powerful and they can be very hurtful.''
It's the second time since joining the Dolphins that Seau's choice of words has sparked controversy.
Last October, Seau _ who is of Samoan descent _ apologized after making a racially insensitive remark directed toward his former San Diego teammate, running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
Asked how to limit Tomlinson, Seau said: ``You give him watermelon and load him up with fried chicken and tell him to keep eating.''
Tomlinson, who is black, said he wasn't offended by Seau's remark, calling it ``silly.'' Seau has been honored in the past for his foundation's charity work and philanthropy. He was the NFL's Man of the Year award in 1994.
``I went in there to receive an award and the words were wrong. I have to live with those words,'' he said Thursday. ``Obviously, last night was a fun night. But at the same time it hurt someone, so therefore we have to deal with that. I apologize for it.''