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But at the same time I don’t want to change who I am as a person.”

During her 12-minute press conference, Rice had to stop and compose herself on several occasions and wipe away tears. ”I love seeing Australians do well and it was such an exciting game. She said she was not homophobic, but added that her ”pretty outgoing personality” leaves her ”a bit more open to criticism”. It’s a f–k-up.” Mascarenhas tweeted that the national selector, Geoff Miller, was a ”knob” and a ”prick”. I guess that’s why I tried to take it back … I didn’t realise how big it was until the next day. I just want people to know how sorry I am. Only last week the English cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas found themselves substantially out of pocket after a Twitter faux pas. It’s a shame I have had to learn this way,” said Rice, who also found herself exposed two years ago when raunchy Facebook pictures of her reached the public domain. ”I’ve definitely learnt a huge lesson. The tennis star Andy Roddick, the England football international Darren Bent and the Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes are among those to have fallen foul of officialdom on account of their tweeting. Pietersen, after being left out of the England limited-overs team, tweeted: ”Done for rest of summer!! ”I’ve learned I must think before I speak and this has been a very important lesson. Man of the World Cup T20, and dropped from the T20 side too. I think people can connect to people on a better level than what you read through [the] media and things like that, so in some ways I think it’s very good, but a huge lesson that I have learnt is that you just have to be so careful with what you are saying .”

Asked if the latest incident would change the way she used those networking tools, Rice replied: ”Obviously it’s going to change things because I have just become so much more aware of how other people can be affected by what I say or do. I think there is a lot of good that can come from social networking. Rice said it had taken her two days to publicly apologise because she had been so emotional and had nothing to do with a fear of losing her sponsors.

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FOR years, the public has been forced to endure cliches and rhetoric from sportsmen and women. Stephanie Rice said her “outgoing personality” leaves her “a bit more open to criticism”. After the Wallabies last-minute Tri Nations win over South Africa, Rice tweeted: ”Suck on that faggots!”

The offensive tweet brought condemnation, and the 22-year-old made a tearful public apology in Sydney yesterday. Photo: Anthony Johnson The triple Olympic gold medal winner, Stephanie Rice, is the latest to come unstuck following unsavoury remarks on Twitter last weekend. But now social networking sites are allowing us to see the raw, unsanitised side of some of our athletes. Not homophobic … But Rice, who lost a Jaguar sponsorship after her outburst, is not the first, and won’t be the last sports star to tumble into the world of putting something out there you can’t take back.

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Stephanie Rice has given an emotional apology for a homophobic tweet which landed her in hot water with fans and sponsors.

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