Some people should really keep their opinions to themselves. That goes for San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, who during the Superbowl press day in New Orleans yesterday, 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.”
When asked whether any homosexual athletes would need to keep their sexuality a secret in football, Culliver responded: “Yeah, come out 10 years later after that.”
Culliver’s team, who plays the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, immediately distanced themselves from his comments, saying: “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.”
Chris has since issued an apology saying: “I deeply regret the derogatory comments I made yesterday as it was a reflection of me being insensitive with my joking, 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. I am truly sorry for any distraction to my teammates and to my fans. I am ready to concentrate on winning this game and ask for your support.”
But not everyone believes his remorse is genuine. Chris’ offensive comments come at a time when sports media is making an effort to embrace football fans no matter whom they choose to love. “Sports Illustrated” recently published a picture of two 49ers male fans kissing at Hi Tops, a gay sports bar in San Francisco. The image, captured by Deanne Fitzmaurice’s lens, features “the moment the 49ers won the game which secured the team a spot in the Super Bowl.”
Hopefully, the team’s players can demonstrate that same spirit of inclusion and acceptance in their comments moving forward.