Nick Bosa, the San Francisco 49ers' top draft pick, has apologized for a controversial tweet about Colin Kaepernick. But President Donald Trump told the defensive end on Saturday he should "always stay true to yourself."
Trump, never shy to wade into the NFL and any controversy involving Kaepernick, gave the words of advice in a tweet.
"Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft," Trump tweeted. "You will be a great player for years to come, maybe one of the best. Big Talent! San Francisco will embrace you but most importantly, always stay true to yourself. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
Bosa, the NFL Draft's No. 2 overall pick from Ohio State, met San Francisco media for the first time Friday during an introductory press conference. He apologized when asked about past tweets he made that some have called insensitive.
In one, Bosa called Kaepernick, a former 49ers quarterback who started a movement to kneel during the national anthem, a "clown."
"I definitely made some insensitive decisions throughout my life," Bosa said. "I'm just excited to be here with a clean slate. I'm sorry if I hurt anybody. I definitely didn't intend for that to be the case.
"But I think me being here is even better for me as a person because I don't think there's any city that will help you grow as much as this one will. I'm going to be surrounded with people, all different kinds. I'm going to grow as a person."
One view: Nick Bosa must prove he's learned from Colin Kaepernick remark, Twitter comments
Video: What Nick Bosa brings to the San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick, who no longer plays in the football league, has become a regular target of Trump. His kneeling during the national anthem to protest a series of police shootings of unarmed black men spawned a movement among many African-American football players and a backlash among some fans.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, Bosa - whom most analysts considered the top defensive player of the draft - had scrubbed the Kaepernick tweet from his Twitter account, along with others, including one that praised Trump. The move was in anticipation that he might be going to San Francisco, Kaepernick's former team and a city known for its liberal politics.
"I had to," Bosa said of the decision to scrub the posts in an interview with ESPN. "There is a chance I might end up in San Francisco."
Among the posts he deleted: one praising Trump in February 2018, after Trump he wished former President Ronald Reagan a happy birthday. Bosa retweeted Trump's post with the message "Goats," a reference to the acronym for "greatest of all time."
In other tweets, Bosa called Beyonce's music "trash" and said Black Panther is the worst Marvel movie. Bosa also "liked" multiple Instagram posts that featured the N-word and a homophobic slur.
In February, Kaepernick reached a settlement with the NFL on a collusion grievance, in which he claimed the league's ownership willingly kept him unemployed for his political activism.
Bosa said the "clown" tweet was not directed at Kaepernick's decision to raise awareness about racial inequality.
"No, it wasn't directed towards that," Bosa said. "It's not like I'm saying his stance and what he was doing. That's not what I was calling or talking about at all. It's just me - a specific thing that happened - and, me as a young kid [with] a thought popping into my head and, boom, decided to tweet it out. Bad decision.
"I mean, I respect what he's done. If it empowers anybody, then he's doing a good thing, so I apologize for that."
Bosa, who left Ohio State after his junior season, is the younger brother of star Los Angeles Charges defensive end Joey Bosa and the son of former NFL player John Bosa, also a defensive end.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL: Trump tells draft pick who called Kaepernick 'clown' in tweet to 'stay true to yourself'