Golden Tate should have known better.
It’s not as if the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver grew up outside of NASCAR country. He was raised in Hendersonville, where he starred in multiple sports for Pope John Paul II.
Yet over the weekend, Tate was contrite during an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio following a public relations misstep made earlier last week on Twitter.
“I will say this: NASCAR fans, do not mess with them,” Tate said. “Do not mess with them. They will eat you alive.”
Tate created a controversy during the ESPY awards show when he took issue with the fact that five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was one of the nominees for male athlete of the year.
“Jimmy johnson up for best athlete???? Um nooo .. Driving a car does not show athleticism,” he wrote on the social media site.
He followed with: “I've driven a car on unknown roads at night at 90 mph. No big deal. No sign of athleticism,” and also “give me six months of training and I bet I could compete.”
Fans responded often and in anger.
Before long, Tate retracted.
“Apologies for my offensive comment to NASCAR fans. I actually read up on it and NO I couldn't race a car 150 mph,” he Tweeted.
Tate echoed that sentiment during the radio interview.
“I did read up and educate myself, and I will say this: They are incredible people to do that,” he said. “After reading up on it, I do have respect and I do want to apologize to NASCAR nation.
“… I wasn’t really too familiar with Jimmie Johnson,” Tate said. “I didn’t mean it to be any disrespect although it might have come across that way.”