I’m having trouble finding the proper words to articulate how incredibly stupid 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver is for his anti-gay comments during Super Bowl week. So I’ll just start by letting Culliver roast himself. He’s pretty good at that, evidently.
During yesterday’s Super Bowl Media Day Artie Lang (“hahahaha hey Chris I’m a funny guy and people think I’m really funny…so what do you think about gay players?”) interviewed Culliver. He took this interview knowing Lange’s nature, and the fact that he’d likely be dragged into an absurd conversation of some kind, or baited to say something dumb. Or much more likely, he didn’t consider any of those things.
That’s when this happened. From Yahoo’s Martin Rogers:
“I don’t do the gay guys man,” said Culliver, whose Niners play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. “I don’t do that. No, we don’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.”
When quizzed by Lange whether any homosexual athletes would need to keep their sexuality a secret in football, Culliver responded: “Yeah, come out 10 years later after that.”
Hey Chris, 1962 is calling. They’d like their worldview back. Thanks.
This is the same interview Lange reportedly started by asking Culliver to estimate how many white females he intends to have sex with this week in New Orleans. For some of you, your initial reaction will be to yell some obscenities about Lange, and you’re all wrong.
Love him or hate him (I lean strong towards the latter), your opinion of Lange is irrelevant here. It’s his job to be a lunatic, and to spot the easy target who will say something idiotic and reel in ratings. For him that’s a limitless cycle, and he’s quite skilled at making that loop continue. In fact, he’s partly made a career out of that skill.
As a human with any intelligence whatsoever, if he wasn’t able to anticipate the direction of the interview before it began, Culliver should have immediately become aware of an oncoming spiral after that first question. One more question of that nature should have led to the conclusion of the interview. That’s Culliver’s responsibility at any time and especially during Super Bowl week; to simply be aware of what the media is asking him, and the consequences of his answers. We’re still only at mid-week, and now his 49ers teammates will have to deal with his comments repeatedly while they’re trying to prepare for the most important game of their lives.
That’s a secondary issue, of course, and I’ve intentionally buried the much larger issue because the judgement of Culliver’s comments should be obvious. Yet sadly, perhaps it isn’t.
He’s 24 years old, and he’s in only his second season as an NFL player after being drafted as a third-round pick in 2011. Yet despite his youth, and despite his lack of time in an NFL locker room, he’s already convinced that a gay player should wait at least a decade after their retirement to publicly announce their sexuality. I think I’ve now found a word to describe that outlook: sad. Just sad.
I suppose Culliver’s beliefs aren’t surprising, though, which is also sad. We’re only a week removed from Manti T’eo not just denying that he’s gay during an interview with Katie Couric, but doing so emphatically. Couric aggressively questioned him about lying, and about leading the public on an elaborate hoax. He maintained his composure, and calmly denied every other accusation. Yet when his sexual orientation was questioned, T’eo was instantly defensive, saying he’s “farrrrr from it”.
We’ve recently had encouraging signs which indicate an openly-gay player would be supported. Trent Richardson — a rookie this year — said he’d be fine with a gay teammate, and there’s been very public backings by Chris Kluwe (don’t fear the cockmonster) and Brandon Ayanbadejo. But the now public homophobic beliefs held by Culliver remind us that the NFL is still firmly in dark times. Again, sad. Just sad.
But even beyond the incomprehensibly poor timing of these comments during Super Bowl week, and beyond the sheer derogatory nature of his views, it gets worse. Yep, that’s possible.
It was only two days ago when we learned that Kwame Harris is gay. Like Culliver, Harris isn’t remotely a household name, and the two have another common bond. They both play/played for the 49ers. Harris is only four seasons removed from his playing days, and while it’s possible that he became gay after retiring, it’s also highly likely that the Niners had a closeted gay player in their locker room for five seasons. The same player who started 55 games on their offensive line.
And since he completely disregarded Lange’s likely questions and prodding, we can also assume that Culliver doesn’t possess the common sense to realize where he plays his home games.
San Francisco has a very proud gay and lesbian community. It’s the city where this picture was taken…
The 49ers quickly issued a statement saying they have addressed the comments with Culliver, and they won’t tolerate discrimination within their organization:
“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.”
That’s nice, and hopefully Culliver is in the minority. We’re now in the fourth week of the year 2013, and back in 2006 Sports Illustrated took a poll that produced these results:
That reflects a survey of 357 NFL players, and while the 56.9 percent is swell, the 39.6 percent is still troubling. But these numbers are now seven years old, and the natural progress of societal views and values means they’ve surely improved considerably since then. Right?