Tennis ace Serena Williams is distancing herself from controversial comments she allegedly made to a magazine interviewer about the rape of a drunken 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio after appearing to suggest the teen was partly responsible for the sexual assault.
Rolling Stone contributor Stephen Rodrick recently sat down with the sports champ to chat about her career, but the topic of conversation strayed when a news clip about the March rape conviction of two Steubenville High School football players aired on TV.
The news purportedly prompted Williams to say, "I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people... She shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."
Rodrick included the comments in a lengthy story posted online on Tuesday (18Jun13), sparking a backlash among readers and causing many to take aim at Williams for appearing to place the blame for the rape on the young victim.
However, the tennis superstar has now spoken out to address the sensitive topic and apologise for what she was quoted as saying - although she suggests Rodrick got her words all wrong.
A statement released on Wednesday (19Jun13) reads: "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."