Dan Savage, co-founder of the It Gets Better project, said late Thursday he has “removed the (San Francisco) 49ers ‘It Gets Better’ video” from the project’s website after two of the team’s player who appeared in the video said they were unaware they were participating in a project to support LGBT youth.
Just hours after 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver faced the media to apologize for anti-gay remarks he made on a radio broadcast, linebacker Ahmad Brooks and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga — approached by USA Today — “strangely denied” appearing in the video that was released by the 49ers last August.
Culliver was widely criticized this week for saying that a gay player would not be welcome on the 49ers team; critics were quick to point out that the 49ers were the only NFL team to produce an “It Gets Better” video, and that Culliver’s remarks stood in contrast to his team mates.
But when approached by USA Today on Thursday, Brooks and Sopoaga denied being part of the project.
“I didn’t make any video,” Brooks said. “This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay. It’s their right. But I didn’t make any video.”
Then, when shown the video, they said they didn’t realize the aim of the production was to fight the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.
“Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video,” Brooks told USA Today.
Sopoaga also denied making the video, even while teammate Will Tukuafu tried to refresh his memory.
“No,” Sopoaga said. “I never went. And now someone is using my name.”
After being shown the video, Sopoaga was asked by USA Today if he’d like to comment on it — he simply answered, “No.”
The video (below), which is still available on the 49ers YouTube page, featured Brooks and Sopoaga, along with defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois and safety Donte Whitner — Whitner is actually the only team member in the video to specifically reference LGBT youth.
The “It Gets Better Project,” which has compiled more than 10,000 online videos, was launched by Savage, a Seattle-based activist and author, and his husband Terry Miller, in response to the increasing number of teen suicides of kids who were bullied for their perceived sexual orientation.