Perth Wildcats' triple NBL champion Corey Webster has apologised for linking the LGBTQ community to mental illness
Webster responded to a social media comment with the LGBTQI+ rainbow flag and the question: "What's the first thing that comes to mind when you see this flag?"
In a Sunday night comment later deleted, Webster commented: "Mental illness."
"While it certainly wasn't my intent, I understand the hurt my comments have caused and I am sincerely sorry for this," Webster said in a statement issued by the Wildcats.
"It wasn't how I intended my comments to be perceived and I will take a break from social media and use that time to better educate myself on the impact comments such as this can make on individuals I may have offended."
NBL chief executive David Stevenson described Webster's comment as "insensitive and harmful".
"We want the NBL to be a safe and inclusive environment at all times and encourage the greater inclusion and wellbeing of LGBTQ players, members and fans," Stevenson said.
"The community is critical in supporting inclusion and diversity in our society and we all must work together to encourage everyone to be themselves."
Webster, 34, posted his comment hours after playing in Perth's 102-95 pre-season win against Cairns on the Gold Coast.
The much-travelled New Zealand star featured in three NBL titles with the Breakers before transferring to Perth last June.