As soon as Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was selected with the seventh overall pick by the Buffalo Bills, questions arose as to how he would be received in the Bills' locker room after he made racially-insensitive comments on Twitter while he was in high school.
Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, a 34-year-old, 11-year NFL veteran and team captain, provided some answers during his Friday interview on the Bills official radio program.
"What I'm gonna do is extend some grace and wait to get to know the kid and see how he develops," Alexander said. "And that's how you got to approach it.
"Now, everyone might not have that same approach. I would encourage every teammate in our locker room to do that, but he's gonna have to at some point, whether he does it in front of the whole team or one-off. Somebody's gonna ask him, 'Why did you say that?' or 'Why were you quoting those words?'
"He's gonna have to have a good answer. I've listened to a couple of interviews, and I think it's gonna come from the heart and he'll be fine. But he's gonna maybe have to work a little bit harder to get respect from certain people in the locker room, but I don't think it's an issue, because that's who he was and not who he is."
Yahoo Sports published Tweets that Allen made while in high school in 2012 and 2013. The tweets have been deleted, but they included racial slurs and other offensive language.
Earlier this week Allen told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that some of the tweets referred to rap lyrics and television, including an episode from the sitcom Modern Family.
After being asked "Why are you so white?" Allen responded, "If it ain't white, it ain't right!" in a June 2013 Tweet.
Allen has apologized, but Alexander advised Allen to address the issue immediately with his new teammates.
"Because you don't want it lingering," Alexander said. "You're always going to have guys like, trying to watch it extra close, trying to confirm it, vs. you addressing it. Then it's kind of over."
During his introductory press conference on Friday, Allen agreed.
"You know, it's something that I've considered," Allen said. "It's something that, when I get to meet the guys, I get a sense of what they, how they feel, what they say to me, and I definitely would consider doing that. It's something that I wouldn't be ashamed or afraid of doing. At the same time, I wouldn't know until I got to know everybody and, like I said, get a feel for how they feel about it. If I seem or I feel like it's necessary to do, it's something that I'm definitely going to do and something that I want to do."
Alexander pointed out that Allen was raised in an area -- Firebaugh, Calif. -- that has very small African American population.
"I'm not gonna be ignorant enough to assume that he understands the (N-)word as I understand it and a lot of people understand it," Alexander said. "Because growing up in a culture, especially around a guy like Eminem, there are certain aspects of our culture that think it's OK to say it, whether you're white or black. I've actually witnessed some black kids allow their white friends to use the word and not think twice about it.
"He grew up, and I'm not making excuses for him, I'm just giving the reality of the matter, growing up in the middle of Fresno (County), not a lot of people were in his town that he grew up in. Small-time, I think it's 1 percent blacks that live in that neighborhood. So you're just not exposed to the same things."
General manager Brandon Beane said the Bills were not aware of the controversial Tweets until they met with Allen Thursday.