San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver wasn’t a well-known name until Super Bowl media day where Culliver made anti-gay remarks that came as a shock for many as he plays for a city that not only has a huge gay population, but has a history with gay rights. What was most revealing about the remarks is that it came from a NFL player speaking his mind about the non-acceptance of gay athletes on the team and in the locker room. Culliver of course doesn’t speak for all players, but his initial view on the issue is a reason an NFL player hasn’t come out as gay while actively playing. As reported by the Associated Press on Thursday, the 49ers cornerback apologized.
In an interview, Culliver said gay NFL football players were not welcome. He said:
“I don’t do the gay guys man…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.”
After realizing the attention surrounding the comment, the 24-year-old Culliver said he was “sorry “if he offended anyone and hopes that he can “grow from this experience and this situation.”
But just a few days before the Super Bowl, it’s a distraction his team didn’t need nor was it the type of media attention the NFL wanted especially in a year where a couple of NFL players were big supporters in gay rights issues. Players like Brendon Ayanbadejo who is opposing Culliver as a member of the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe continue to be supporters and remain very outspoken about gay rights.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh met privately with Culliver after the remarks were made and said he “reject” what Culliver said.
“That’s not something that reflects the way the organization feels, the way the rest of the players feel.”
The comments were not something that represented an organization that participated in the NFL’s “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign. The remarks by Culliver are the kind of emotional bullying that has players afraid to come out as gay.