The long road of accepting gays in the NFL

The San Francisco 49er who earlier this week said he didn’t want gay football players in the locker room, paid the price today.

Chris Culliver had to face the media for 45 minutes of grilling about his comments on a radio station.

“That’s not what’s in my heart,” Culliver said.

Before the media session today, he released this 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.”

Doug Farrar at Yahoo Sports doesn’t consider the case closed yet:

The real question has to do with locker room culture, the possibility of putting people who are different in corners they’re trying to get out of, and taking steps away from the idea of true equality in the NFL.

Everyone will give the right, pat answers when asked whether Culliver’s words are truly representative of the way most players feel. We won’t know for sure until and unless someone is brave enough to test those potentially dangerous waters.

It’ll be a long slog. Today, Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin became the latest athlete to join Athlete Ally, which encourages college and professional athletes to pledge to support fellow athletes regardless of sexual orientation. Barwin’s older brother is gay.

There are a more than 6,000 college and pro athletes who have taken that pledge. Only four NFL players are among them, the Vikings’ Chris Kluwe included.

  • jon

    Normally to this type of take back message I’d say Bullshit… but he’s an NFL quarter back… who knows what is in his heart… all we can know for sure is that his brain is more then likely scrambled.

    If I saw the same quote of his that he did, I can understand why he’d recanted it… regardless of what his feelings are towards gays, no one should be that abusive to the English language.

    Last thought, I saw a post on Facebook that said something to the effect of “men should be offended when some one says that women shouldn’t dress a certain way or go certain places to avoid being raped… it implies that the natural state of all men is rapist.” While I disagree with the absoluteness of that statement… one has to wonder about men who don’t want gays in the locker room… is it because of the assumption that just because some one is a male homosexual they are going to be a rapist? Or is it because they feel like they will be objectified by that person? Is this all just a reflection of how they treat members of the human race that they are attracted too?

  • Drae

    I certainly hope Culliver is being sincere when he says he hopes to learn and grow from his mistake. A good first start beyond his apology would be to sign the Athlete Ally pledge, because actions speak louder than words.

    And, @ jon… First, Culliver is not a quarterback but a CORNER back.

    Second, I think it’s a bit much to suggest that simply because he plays football, he must have cognitive problems that impede his ability to be a moral and/or honest person.

    Third, I am baffled as to why poor English is more upsetting to people than the bigoted comments. This is the second time in two days this has been mentioned. Would you be happier if people expressed their bigotry in grammatically correct English? Seriously, what is the point of mentioning that?

    I do think your comments based on the FB post are worthy of much more consideration than those made about grammar.

  • David G

    At the least, Culliver has a wise PR agent. It was an upfront “…I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended,…”

    Usually this kind of apology has a weaselly “if you were offended” that puts the onus of offense on the listener.