Tennis champ Serena Williams apologized Wednesday for the controversial comments she "supposedly said" about the Steubenville rape case in a Rolling Stone interview published online this week.
Two members of the Steubenville, Ohio, football team were convicted in March of raping a 16-year-old girl
while she was passed out drunk at a party and then posting photos of the incident on social media.
In the lengthy Rolling Stone piece, Williams, who had been ranked No. 1 heading into Wimbledon next week, was quoted as saying the victim "shouldn’t have put herself in that position."
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"She's 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn't remember?"
Williams was quoted as saying. "It could have been much worse. She's lucky. Obviously I don't know, maybe she wasn't a virgin, but she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."
Her comments drew immediate criticism on Twitter.
Williams issued an apology Wednesday on her website.
"What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me.
I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only 16, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved — that of the rape victim and of the accused," she said in a statement.
"I am currently reaching out to the girl's family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.
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"I have fought all of my career for women's equality, women's equal rights, respect in their fields — anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent 16-year-old child."
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