Just in time for the Superbowl! The San Francisco 49ers are experiencing some seriously bad PR thanks to the actions of a few players. Cornerback Chris Culliver made some pretty ignorant anti-gay comments last week. Days later, members of his team realized they had starred in one of Dan Savage’s amazing “It Gets Better” videos. Did the players use this opportunity to try to clear their team’s newly-earned anti-gay image a little? Nope. Who is in charge of the PR for these idiots? Whoever it is should be fired.
Last Tuesday, Culliver had an interview with shock-jock Artie Lange. Yahoo Sports reports that in the interview, Culliver insisted that a gay player would not be welcome on his team:
“I don’t do the gay guys man,” said Culliver, whose Niners play the Baltimore Ravens [today]. “I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.
“Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can’t be…in the locker room man. Nah.”
When quizzed by Lange whether any homosexual athletes would need to keep their sexuality a secret in football, Culliver responded: “Yeah, come out 10 years later after that.”
First of all, it’s not your team. You play for a team that represents the city of San Francisco – one of the most tolerant, forward-thinking cities in the country. That is something you should be proud of. Instead, you use your celebrity to spout off ignorant, machismo, homophobic rhetoric. Yuck.
A day after the interview fiasco, Culliver issued an apology which appeared on the GLAAD website:
“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.”
The words you say are “a reflection of thoughts” in your head, but not how you “feel?” Okay. At least it’s an apology. GLAAD seems to have accepted it.
A few days later, it comes to light that members of the 49ers starred in a video for Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project. If you haven’t seen the project, it’s basically a collection of videos in which adults reach out to LGBT teens – encouraging them to hang on through their tough teen years with the assurance that “it gets better.” The videos were created as a response to the many stories of bullying and suicide that emerged from the young LGBT community.
When it was brought to their attention that they had starred in one of these videos, linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga denied ever producing the clip. Huh? The Huffington Post reported their reactions:
“This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay,” Brooks told the publication. “But I didn’t make any video.” Later, after he was reportedly shown the video on an iPhone, the player clarified, “Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video.”
Even more curiously, Sopoaga similarly denied taking part in the clip, even as a teammate reportedly tried to jog his memory. “I never went,” he declared. “And now someone is using my name.”
Okay, so just to clarify – you totally support anti-bullying videos, just not if they are targeted at LGBT teens? Dan Savage responded to Brooks and Sporaga’s confusion by removing the video from the “It Gets Better” site.
We wouldn’t want to accidentally support a fantastic organization, now would we? Good job, guys.