*Amid the fallout of anti-gay remarks made by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, two more players on the team have just stepped into the backlash by denying ever participating in an “It Gets Better” PSA that supports the LGBT community, when clearly they did. [Scroll down to watch.]
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga participated in the team’s widely-praised video “It Gets Better” last summer, but the players told USA Today Sports that they didn’t realize the video’s aim was to specifically combat bullying experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens.
“This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay,” Brooks told the publication. “But I didn’t make any video.” Later, after he was reportedly shown the video on an iPhone, the player clarified, “Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video.”
Meanwhile, Sopoaga similarly denied taking part in the clip, even as a teammate reportedly tried to jog his memory. “I never went,” he declared. “And now someone is using my name.”
LGBT rights advocate and “It Gets Better” project founder Dan Savage has responded to Brooks’ and Sopoaga’s claims via Twitter, announcing that the 49ers’ video has been removed from his site. [The tweet read: We've removed the #49ers #ItGetsBetter video from our website. http://t.co/ZI2Vr6Nt #homophobia #NFL #horsesh*t]
Meanwhile, the firestorm over Culliver’s statements (he told Artie Lange that he “don’t do the gay guys, man” and that an openly gay player would not be welcome on his football team) continues to rage, even though he has apologized, and team officials released a statement saying they “proudly support the LGBT community.”
Interestingly, Culliver’s comments initially came on the heels of news that former 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris was in court on assault charges from an ex-boyfriend. Though Harris last played for the 49ers in 2007, many former teammates quickly came to his defense in the media.
A petition has since been launched on change.org asking the NFL to send Culliver to spend a day with the New York Gay Football League.
“This will give him an opportunity to see that openly gay players perform just as well as heterosexual players,” the petition’s organizer, Christian Fuscarino, writes. “It will also allow him to ask questions and speak with members of the team.”
Watch the San Francisco 49ers’ “It Gets Better” video below.