Bull rider apologizes following social media comments about Native Americans

Published: Nov. 16, 2018 at 4:52 PM CST
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A bull rider competing at an event on an Indian Reservation in North Dakota this weekend has issued a mea culpa, after catching heat for using a derogatory remark when referring to Native Americans on Twitter earlier this week.

Jess Lockwood used the term in a tweet that has since been deleted, though not before receiving criticism from many on social media.

The 21-year-old Lockwood is scheduled to perform in a Professional Bull Riders showcase at the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, N.D., Friday and Saturday.

Lockwood posted the following on his Facebook page Thursday:

Earlier this week in a tweet, I used an inappropriate and insensitive word. I am sorry for my actions and assume full responsibility. I realize that I made a mistake, I should never use that term or any other term that is demeaning. I have learned a lot in short time from this. I have many Native American friends, several of whom live on reservations in Montana and many who I compete against week in and week out. I did not intend to offend anyone and it won’t happen again. Asking for your understanding and forgiveness, Jess Lockwood

Patrick Packineau, the General Manager of the casino, released the following statement on its Facebook page Friday:

4 Bears Casino & Lodge is aware of recent comments made by a member of Professional Bull Riders who will be part of our featured event this weekend. We condemn these types of comments, and believe that these biased comments and actions can only fuel racism. We also know that personally experiencing the diversity represented by our staff and our customers can help change these biases, leading to understanding and respect of our Native American heritage and our culture. The PBR organization has issued a statement that supports the opportunity to make this event a welcoming and learning experience for all those involved.

The PBR has also released the following statement:

PBR is aware of an inappropriate comment made on social media by Jess Lockwood. Jess immediately apologized and is using this incident as a learning experience to educate himself further. He counts all of our Native American riders as close friends and he did not intend to hurt any member of the Native American Community. Jess has been offered and accepted an invitation to tour an Indian Reservation, where he will learn more about the extraordinary Native American culture, and teach the youngsters there about opportunities in bull riding. The PBR does not tolerate intolerance of any kind and has fined Jess an undisclosed amount with the money to be directed to a Native American charitable organization.