NFL sensitivity training
Sports | Zachary Abate
Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco is going to Disney World, but San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Culliver is heading to reeducation camp.
Culliver last week said he wouldn’t want to have any gay teammates. Then came what today is the inevitable: Public apology, sit-down with journalists, and volunteering to work at a pro-homosexuality charity—in this case, The Trevor Project.
"He's so passionate about youth and people being comfortable with who they are and accepted by all," said Culliver publicist Theodore Palmer: "He's excited to learn … with The Trevor Project, and their concerns are that he is genuine about his words."
On Wednesday, four days before suiting up for the Super Bowl, Culliver apologized for his remarks: ''The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel. 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.''
The disparaging comments came during an interview with radio host Arte Lange. When asked how he would respond to having a gay teammate, Culliver said, “Ain't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff.”
San Francisco CEO Jed York and head coach Jim Harbaugh quickly criticized their player. Harbaugh: "We reject what he said. That in no way reflects how the organization feels, and how most of the players feel. His impact going forward on the team is something we'll think about.”
Culliver made six starts for the NFC champions, collecting 47 tackles and two interceptions. His comments add to the rising discussion over how the professional sports world will handle openly homosexual players.
On Friday, former Boston Red Sox star pitcher, Curt Schilling, offered his thoughts on the controversy. “I've never understood this 'issue' with gay players? Who cares? I know I played with some,” Schilling wrote on his Twitter account, asking why “what they do in the bedroom” matters.
Last June, former NFL cornerback Wade Davis said he is a homosexual, and told The Daily Beast he knows three current NFL players who are gay. While several former athletes have said they are homosexuals, no current athlete in major league baseball, football, hockey, or basketball has publicly admitted to being gay.
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