"What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame," Williams wrote. "I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child."
On Tuesday, Deadspin posted an excerpt from her Rolling Stone interview which included Williams' comments on the Steubenville case.
"Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don't know. I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people," Williams told Rodrick.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion was also quoted saying that the victim "shouldn't have put herself in that position."
CLICK HERE to read the entire piece at Rolling Stone
As the excerpt spread across the internet, many took to Twitter to express their disappointment and anger at Williams.
MORE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:
Serena Williams says she's reaching out to the family of the victim in the Steubenville rape case after the tennis star was quoted in a Rolling Stone article saying "she shouldn't have put herself in that position."
In a statement released through her agent Wednesday, Williams says: "What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame."
The comment was made in one paragraph of a lengthy story posted online Tuesday about Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam title winner who is ranked No. 1 heading into Wimbledon, which starts next week.
Two players from the Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team were convicted in March of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl.