Last week, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo announced that he hoped to use the added media of the Super Bowl to draw attention to equal rights for the LGBT community.
Ayanbadejo might need to have a chat with San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver.
The small minded back-up decided take advantage of the added media coverage to become the first player in Super Bowl history to use the forum to make anti-gay comments, telling a radio host he has no desire to have a gay teammate.
“I don’t do the guys. I don’t do that,” Culliver said to Artie Lang on Tuesday. “We don’t have any gays on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.”
Culliver also told Lang that if an NFL player is gay, he should keep it to himself. “Yeah, come out 10 years later after that,” he said.
On Wednesday, the 49ers issued a statement distancing themselves from Culliver.
“The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made (Tuesday), and have addressed the matter with Chris,” the statement said. “There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.”
Culliver's comments were circulated on Wednesday, and lead to widespread backlash throughout the sports community. Former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross tweeted that Culliver was the "Leader for All-Ingorant team."
After hearing about the backlash (and probably more importantly the statement from the 49ers), Culliver apologized for his homophobic comments.
“The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel,” Culliver said in the statement. “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.”
Culliver plans to address his homophobic remarks at a news conference during the 49ers' media availability Thursday morning, according to public relations representative Theodore Palmer.
"Chris is very apologetic for any harm caused to anyone," Palmer told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "His intent was not that at all. He is one who celebrates the differences of others. All of this was just a big mistake. It was interpreted wrong."
Culliver's comments were reminiscent of former 49ers running back Garrison Hearst, who had just about the same things to say about 10 years ago:
"Aww, hell no! I don't want any faggots on my team. I know this might not be what people want to hear, but that's a punk. I don't want any faggots in this locker room."
Obviously, San Francisco is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country, and home to much of the LGBT movement's history. Not only were the 49ers the first team to film an anti-bullying "It Gets Better" video last August, Sports Illustrated featured a picture of two male 49ers fans celebrating a win by kissing in a bar.