Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen apologised on Thursday following the emergence of offensive tweets containing a racist epithet.
Just hours before NFL teams make their selections for the 2018 draft in Dallas, Allen scrambled to apologise for the posts, saying he was "young and dumb" when he wrote them in 2012-2013, according to ESPN.
The 21-year-old quarterback is regarded as a potential top-five pick in this year's draft, which gets under way on Thursday.
However the emergence of his social media posts made in high school is likely to see him tumble down the expected pecking order.
In the tweets, which have since been deleted, Allen repeatedly uses the n-word, and in one response to the question "Why are you so white?", replies: "If it ain't white, it ain't right!"
According to ESPN, Allen called the network's broadcaster Stephen A. Smith in the early hours of Thursday to apologise for the tweets.
"He was tremendously contrite, he was apologetic, he recognised that it was irresponsible for him to the things that he did," Smith said.
"He attributed them to youth ... His whole point was that there is no excuse, he was wrong," Smith added.
Allen has been talked about as a possible number one pick in the draft, the annual event which sees the 32 teams in the National Football League take turns in recruiting the top players from college gridiron.
The Cleveland Browns, who own the number one pick in this year's draft, are reported to be considering Allen as the top pick.
On Tuesday Allen said he would relish the challenge of being chosen No.1 overall by the Browns.
"I would love to have that pressure on my shoulders because I've always thrived in those situations, and I feel like Cleveland would be a great spot to be," said Allen.
Allen's case echoes the social media controversy surrounding Laremy Tunsil in 2016. Video of Tunsil appearing to smoke marijuana through a gas mask emerged on draft day two years ago, bumping him down the order. He was later selected by the Miami Dolphins.
© 2018 AFP