NEW ORLEANS – Just days before the San Francisco 49ers will take to the field In New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII, cornerback Chris Culliver on Tuesday said that a gay player would not be welcome on the team.
Appearing on the Artie Lange show Tuesday, Culliver, responding to a question by Lange if there are any gay players on the team, said:
“I don’t do the gay guys man,” responded Culliver. “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 by Lange whether any homosexual athletes would need to keep their sexuality a secret in professional football, Culliver responded: “Yeah, come out 10 years later after that.”
You can listen to the interview here:
“Chris Culliver’s comments represent the height of ignorance and the type of homophobic banter that professional athletes rarely use anymore,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz, in a statement Wednesday.
“Chris Culliver’s irrational rant against LGBT people is reprehensible … Culliver should recognize how far most of his fellow athletes have come on this issue and apologize immediately,” said Sainz.The 49ers face off Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, whose linebacker, Brendon Ayanbadejo, has been one of the most prominent voices in the NFL advocating for LGBT equality, donating a good deal of his time to the recent successful campaign for marriage equality in Maryland.
In addition to facing off against Ayanbadejo, Culliver’s comments also may not sit well with many of his own teammates on the 49ers. The 49ers were the first NFL team to film an ‘It Gets Better’ video aimed at LGBT youth.
Earlier this week, former 49ers offensive lineman Kwame Harris appeared in court regarding felony domestic charges in the alleged beating of an ex-boyfriend. Harris’ sexual orientation was never divulged during his playing career with the 49ers (2003-07) or Raiders (2008).
The 49ers released this statement on Wednesday regarding Culliver’s remarks:
“The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made [Tuesday], 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.”
So far, there has been no statement, retraction or apology from Culliver.
Culliver has released this statement:
“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.”
“Chris is very apologetic for any harm caused to anyone,” said Theodore Palmer, Culliver’s personal public relations representative, in a telephone interview with Associated Press. “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.”