WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign is condemning comments by San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver in which he says gay players wouldn’t be welcome on his team.
The homophobic remarks stand in stark contrast to the numerous NFL players who advocate for equality – including Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo, an outspoken straight ally who will take the field against Culliver this Sunday in the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Culliver made the remarks during a Super Bowl media day interview on Tuesday, telling a radio host:
"I don't do the gay guys man. 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.”
“Chris Culliver’s comments represent the height of ignorance and the type of homophobic banter that professional athletes rarely use anymore,” said Fred Sainz, HRC vice president of communications.
“Chris Culliver’s irrational rant against LGBT people is reprehensible, and the fact that he is about to face off in the Super Bowl against Brendon Ayanbadejo – a steadfast ally for our community – only exacerbates how unacceptable his comments are. Culliver should recognize how far most of his fellow athletes have come on this issue and apologize immediately,” Sainz said.
The Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo is one of the most prominent voices in the NFL advocating for equality – he donated a good deal of his time to the recent successful push for marriage equality in Maryland. Chris Kluwe, with the Minnesota Vikings, is another NFL player who has spoken out frequently for LGBT Americans.
In addition to facing off against Ayanbadejo this weekend, 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. San Francisco is also home to one of the largest LGBT communities in the world, and many are fans of the football team.