INDEPENDENT MP Bob Katter has rushed to the defence of controversial Sunshine Coast swimmer Nick D'Arcy, saying political correctness has gone too far when men have to "apologise for being men".
Mr Katter took aim at the "thought police" for their criticism of Mr D'Arcy and fellow Olympian Kenrick Monk, who sparked outrage when Monk posted a photo on Facebook of the pair toting firearms in a United States gun shop.
The swimmers were contrite when they were ambushed by media at Brisbane Airport this morning after arriving back in Australia after a three-week training camp in the US. Monk has also removed the photo.
But Mr Katter said the criticism of the swimmers, who he described as "sporting heroes", was offensive to responsible gun users.
"What have we become, when two Australian Olympic swimmers can been vilified for being photographed with legal firearms in the US?" Mr Katter said in a statement.
"Are we serious? The real crime here is the thought police stripping us of the right for boys to be boys.
"Legitimate shooting organisations, law enforcement officers and defenders of our nation should quite rightly feel deeply offended when our sporting heroes cannot even be photographed holding a gun.
"We need to stand up and fight against this overwhelming tide of political correctness. By trying not to offend anyone, we ensure that we offend nearly everyone."
No stranger to controversy himself, Mr Katter made headlines on Thursday when he reacted angrily to questions on national television about his views on homosexuality.
But the Katter's Australian Party leader appears undeterred by the criticism he copped after his appearance on The Circle.
"Will they finally be happy when men can only be photographed at a day spa carrying their designer chihuahua in a designer Louis Vuitton doggy handbag?" his statement read.