Chris Culliver Claims Gay Teammates Would Need to Leave 49ers Locker Room
It looks like Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo isn't the only player who has voiced his thoughts on gay rights during Super Bowl week. According to Martin Rogers of Yahoo! Sports, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver appeared on Artie Lange's radio show and made disparaging comments about homosexuality.
When asked by Lange at media day on Tuesday whether he would be open to a gay teammate, Culliver made it very clear that he would be uncomfortable.
"I don't do the gay guys man," said Culliver (per Yahoo! Sports). "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."
UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 8:46 p.m. ET by Richard Langford
Chris Culliver statement: "The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel...— Cam Inman (@CamInman) January 31, 2013
I'm not exactly sure if this qualifies as a retraction, but it is definitely an attempt to distance himself from his comments.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 6:25 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway
According to Pro Football Talk's Josh Alper, the 49ers "reject the comments" made by Culliver and have addressed them internally. The team released an official statement Wednesday evening regarding the matter:
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.
---End of update---
Culliver, a second-year cornerback out of South Carolina, later went on to say that gay players needed to keep their sexuality a secret until "10 years" after they retire.
The opinion of Culliver is almost certainly going to elicit questions directed toward Ayanbadejo. A veteran special teamer, Ayanbadejo has long been an advocate for gay rights, and he was even in contact with a marriage-equality advocate prior to Super Bowl week to see if he could help the cause (per the New York Times).
The issue of gay rights has long been cultural, but only recently has it leaped to the forefront in the professional sports world. There has yet to be an active openly gay player in any of the United States' four major professional sports leagues, leading some to wonder whether the locker-room culture prevents openness about sexuality.
Though Culliver's comments do not represent the 49ers' organization or NFL as a whole, they certainly indicate an attitude that could lead to even more hesitance about a homosexual player stepping forward in the future.
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