In the wake of the controversy, two other San Francisco players told USA Today Sports they did not recall participating in a highly-praised “It Gets Better” video against anti-gay bullying, and then said they didn’t realize it was supporting LGBT youth. This pissed off “It Gets Better” founder Dan Savage, who pulled the video from his site.
Culliver and the 49ers will play against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday in New Orleans.
But anti-gay sentiment is not the universal theme in this weekend’s game. Other professional players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, have been vocal supporters of marriage equality and open to the idea of having a gay teammate.
Ayanbadejo worked on Maryland’s marriage efforts last year and promised to use this weekend’s Super Bowl has a platform for the issue.
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has been an outspoken advocate. He’s appeared on the cover of OUT Magazine and even on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show to talk up marriage equality.
In a strange way, I believe Culliver’s controversy is a good thing for the equality movement and gay rights in general. It signals that our issues are so mainstream that professional athletes are asked about them along side questions of strategy and X’s and O’s before the year’s biggest sporting event. Plus, it lets LGBT sports fans (and casual watchers) know who not to cheer for Sunday.
That said, go Ravens!
Top photo: The San Francisco 49ers pose for a photo during this week’s Media Day ahead of the weekend’s Super Bowl (via Facebook)