Update 2 Culliver has now apologized:
“The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel. It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience.”
Update The 49ers have released a statement condemning Culliver’s remarks:
“The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris. There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.”
Probably not what the 49ers want to be focusing on right now: 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver made some disparaging remarks about gay men to radio host and comedian Artie Lang during the 49ers’ media day on Tuesday. Culliver is a 22-year-old second-year player who started six games this year.
“I don’t do the gay guys, man, I don’t do that,” Culliver said when Lang asked him if he was ever approached by gay men. Lang then asked Culliver if there were any gay guys on the team. “No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do,” he said. “Can’t be with that sweet stuff … Nah, can’t be in the locker room. Nah.”
“So they’d have to keep it a secret?”Lang said.
“Come out 10 years later after that,” Culliver said. Listen to the audio:Here’s the entire segment from the Artie Lang show.
Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe, who in September defended Ravens’ linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo for his support of same-sex marriage after a Maryland state politican condemned him for it, has responded on Twitter…
The proper response to @cullyinthehouse isn’t to mock him for insecurity over gay rights, but to mock him for buying fake Twitter followers.
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) January 30, 2013
Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami has also weighed in…
Bay Area News Group reporters have listened to the radio-show audio. Culliver definitely said what he is reported to have said… Stupidity.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 30, 2013
It may seem ironic that Culliver’s comments come so soon after several 49er players said the recently revealed sexual orientation of ex-teammate Kwame Harris, who faces felony charges related to the alleged August beating of an ex-boyfriend, does not matter to them.
“That’s him. If that’s what he’s into, that’s what he’s into,” tight end Delaney Walker told USA Today. “I can’t judge a person for how he feels. Things happen. He was a great player. I don’t see him no differently.”
Last August, the 49ers released an “It Gets Better” video, becoming the first NFL team to participate in the anti-harassment campaign that offers encouragement to gay teens who are experiencing bullying.
A few weeks ago Jim Harbaugh was asked how he would react to an openly gay player on his team. From the Chronicle’s Niner Insider blog, his response:
“I ask all players to play through their own personality and be who they are. What you ask of a player is to be a great teammate and be a good player. My expectations would be the same … Personally, there’s no discrimination in my heart.”
The Chronicle also quotes linebacker Larry Grant and cornerback Tarell Brown as being supportive of a gay teammate.
“I just feel like, you shouldn’t hide it,” said Brown. “At the end of the day don’t be embarrassed with what you are, or what you do. If you are that way, that’s you.”
Easier said than done, as we’ve seen today.