Chris Culliver’s comments regarding gays in the NFL and his team specifically have certainly caused a furor on the internet. Culliver told shock jock Artie Lange “No, ain’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.”
Cue up the damage control, and the non-apology apology.
To begin with, the 49ers released a statement saying “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.”
Culliver then issued his own apology which doesn’t read as being exactly apologetic. He stated “The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel. 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.”
As SFGate noted:
In the past, Jim Harbaugh has said gay players would be welcome on his team. And this week when the news broke that former 49ers and Raiders tackle Kwame Harris was charged in a court case involving an attack on his boyfriend, the news was greeted with a collective shrug by his former teammates.
But Culliver’s comments are the same ignorant stuff that was spouted a decade ago, when then-49ers running back Garrison Hearst said, “I don’t want any faggots on my team.” It’s the same bullying that we’ve heard too often in professional sports.
This is not going to be something that goes away easily, but at least Culliver’s team is less than happy with what he said.