We’ve written plenty about how rad we think it is that Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been an outspoken advocate for marriage equality, to the point of using his Super Bowl appearance to further the cause. That activism seems all the more awesome now that we hear how some other players — notably the 49ers Chris Culliver — discuss sexuality and football. ” No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do,” Culliver told Artie Lange in an interview on Super Bowl Media Day. “Can’t be with that sweet stuff… Nah, can’t be in the locker room. Nah.”
Sure, the Ravens have players who disagree with Ayanbadejo — notably center Matt Birk, who starred in an anti-gay marriage commercial in the weeks leading up to last year’s election. But as much as I may (strongly) disagree with Birk, at least he was approaching the subject from a coherent position, rather than just engaging in some off-the-cuff homophobic ranting.
Culliver got plenty of pushback for his comments, and has since apologized. (“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.”) The 49ers also apologized for Culliver’s remarks on behalf of the team (“We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.”) Culliver’s comments seem especially out-of-line considering that former 49er Kwame Harris recently came out, and is receiving plenty of support from former teammates.
So if you’ve ever questioned whether Ayanbadejo’s vocal support of marriage equality is important, well, here’s an example of why we need more players standing up to change the culture of football, especially with respect to sexuality. And it’s just one more reason the Ravens deserve to win on Sunday.