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GM says he was 'expressing frustration'

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions president Matt Millen
apologized Monday for using a derogatory term for gays in a heated
exchange with Kansas City receiver Johnnie Morton.

Millen was talking with Kansas City players and coaches outside
their locker room after the Chiefs' 45-17 victory Sunday when he
ran into Morton, cut by Millen after the 2001 season.

Millen, also the Lions' general manager, said he congratulated
Morton but was greeted with an insult from the player.

"Unfortunately, I retaliated with a derogatory term directed
toward Johnnie," Millen said in a statement. "I apologize if I
offended anyone. It was certainly not meant to do anything other
than express my frustration and disappointment."

Morton apologized for his part in the exchange, but was
disappointed by Millen's choice of words.

"What he said is demeaning and bigoted," Morton told The
Kansas City Star. "Jeremy Shockey got in trouble for saying it
about a coach (Bill Parcells), and now we have a president of a
team making statements like that. It's totally unacceptable. I have
gay friends, and I don't even joke around with them like that."

Last summer, Shockey called Parcells a "homo" in a New York
magazine article.

Millen has been the focus of several controversies in his three
years heading the Lions, who are 4-10 this season.

He was fined $200,000 this summer by the NFL because he didn't
follow the league's minority hiring policy when he hired coach
Steve Mariucci.

During the 2002 season, Millen called an unidentified player a "devout coward." Millen later apologized.