By Anna Peirano
Yesterday, 49er players Ahmad Brooks and Isaac Sopoaga, who both appeared in the team’s 2012 “It Gets Better” video, claim to not remember filming the video, and certainly not knowing that the video had an LGBT focus.
Following Chris Culliver’s homophobic comments earlier this week, which he apologized for today, reporters have been poking around other team players wondering whether or not the cornerback’s sentiments are standard fare.
When asked by a reporter, Brooks said, “This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay. It’s their right. But I didn’t make any video.” Then, a USA Today Sports reporter showed Brooks the video on an iPhone, to which Brooks responded, “Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay video.” When questioned separately, Sopoaga also did not remember the video, according to sfist.com, and did not seem to know that it had anything to do with LGBT affairs.
While the “It Gets Better Project” says multiple players allegedly volunteered to be in the video, the also claim that the most intimidating looking players were chosen to do it.
But it’s not all homophobes up in here.
Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, who has been a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, said in response to Culliver’s statement:
While he’s certainly entitled to speak his mind, Culliver is a role model whether he likes it or not. There are kids all over the United States who aspire to be right where he is and he has an obligation to consider the effect of his words. Kids are listening.
Veteran wide receiver Randy Moss said he wouldn’t judge a teammate based on his sexual orientation:
I mean, you see how they react, how they go about their day, (and) you sometimes wonder. But it’s not my position to call them out, make them look bad or make fun of them. We’re all human,” Moss said Thursday. “If that’s what you choose to do, that’s what you choose to do. I don’t think we should tear a man’s head off because of his sexual preference.
Chris Culliver issued an apology via official statement:
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.’
49ers head couch Jim Harbaugh said he believed Culliver’s original comments were a mistake, that in no way reflect the over all sentiments of the team.
“I do believe that there wasn’t malice in his heart. He’s not that kind of person,” said Harbaugh. “He’s not an ugly person, he’s not a discriminating person. He may have heard talk like that and may have thought that that those were opinions that he learned and repeated those. He regrets that. That’s not who he is. That’s not what he really believes.
Harbaugh thinks Culliver will learn from the experience, “I think it took this incident, to hear those words being said by him, to see them written down on paper for him to realize they were hurtful and ugly and I think, I know, that he’s taken that to heart. I really believe that this is something he’ll learn and grow from.”