- (Photograph: Chris Culliver/Twitter)
Chris Culliver, San Francisco 49ers cornerback, is apologizing after expressing his beliefs that he would not feel comfortable having a homosexual teammate.
During an interview with comedian and radio personality Artie Lange on Super Bowl media day Tuesday, 24-year-old Culliver said his team did not have any homosexual players and gave his reasons for why they would not be welcome in his eyes.
"I don't do the gay guys. I don't do that. We ain't got no gay people on the team," Culliver told Lange. "They gotta get up out here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. ... Nah, can't be ... in the locker room, man."
When Lange asked Culliver if homosexual players should reveal their sexual orientation after retirement, the CB responded by saying they should wait and "come out 10 years after that."
After his comments made their rounds in a number of media headlines, Culliver offered his apology for what some deemed anti-gay remarks. Days before the Super Bowl, the 49ers released a statement from Culliver, who said he realized his words were hurtful.
"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel," Culliver said in the statement released by the team. "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."
The team also officially released a statement about Culliver's statements, although there were no remarks about whether the cornerback would receive any fines as a result of his statement.
"The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris," the team's statement said. "There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community."
Culliver's comments sparked a debate about the 49ers CB on Twitter.
"After discovering that there are homophobes in the 49's locker room, I will now be rooting for the Ravens on Sunday," one person tweeted.
However, another individual said that Culliver should be entitled to voice his opinion.
"Sad when @Cullyinthehouse can't even voice his opinion without ridicule from the media. #freedomofspeech," the person tweeted.