The director of the Michigan State Police apologized late Tuesday for sharing a Facebook message disparaging athletes who kneel during the national anthem as “anti-American degenerates,” but the apology came amid strong criticism and calls for her resignation or firing.

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue shared a message on her personal Facebook page Sunday that said athletes who take a knee during the pre-game national anthem -- which several have described as a symbolic protest against racial oppression and incidents of police brutality against blacks -- are "millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces and veterans" and "a bunch of rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates."

Read more: Michigan State Police Chief calls anthem protesters 'degenerates'

The message, which could only be directly viewed by Etue's friends, drew outrage when it was first reported by the Free Press early Tuesday evening.

"It is the sworn duty of the State Police Director to uphold the Constitution which protects all people in this State and to demonstrate respect for those principles," Michigan ACLU Director Kary Moss wrote on Facebook.

"She undermines her own position and the trust of the community with these remarks and utter disregard of the people she represents."

Late Tuesday, Etue apologized on the MSP Facebook page.

"It was a mistake to share this message on Facebook and I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended," Etue's post read.

"I will continue my focus on the unity at the Michigan State Police and in communities across Michigan."

"This isn't about people being offended," Scott posted on Facebook. "It's about the leader of the State Police missing the entire point of protesting police brutality. This statement helps nothing."

The Michigan National Action Network also called on Etue to resign.

Etue's sharing of a meme related to the NFL controversy signed "We the People," also drew many expressions of support for her and the message she shared.

"Good for her," Dale Bogard of Plymouth, a retired information technology worker from Ford, said in an e-mail to the Free Press Tuesday. "It's high time people stood up for decency and respect for this country."

Gov. Rick Snyder's office did not immediately respond to an e-mail early Wednesday seeking comment from him.