The San Francisco 49ers are headed to the Super Bowl this Sunday, and while most teams in that position would welcome all the help they can get, cornerback Chris Culliver says he would never play on the same team as a gay man.
On Tuesday, Culliver sat down with shock jock Artie Lange for a pre-game "media day" interview. Lange opened with standard questions about the upcoming Super Bowl XLVII, but things took a turn for the bizarre after Lange asked Culliver an innocent enough question about gay players in the NFL and on the 49ers.
“I don't do the gay guys man,” Culliver said. “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. Yeah, it’s true. Nah…can't be…in the locker room man. Nah.”
So what does Culliver think a closeted gay man should do if he wanted to play in the NFL?
“Yeah, come out 10 years later after that,” he said.
Listen to the interview below, courtesy of Yahoo Sports.
Culliver’s comments shouldn’t reflect on the 49ers as a whole, but they have sparked criticism for the team online. Some Twitter users even say they will root for the Ravens in Sunday’s game because of Culliver’s remarks. Could this Super Bowl scandal tear a hole in the 49ers fanbase in famously gay-friendly San Francisco?
"If the niners organization doesn’t suspend culliver from the game sunday for this nonsense i will absolutely never support them in anything," tweeted San Francisco resident Jay Satellite.
Because fan enthusiasm is hugely important in high-stakes sporting events, is it possible that the backlash could affect the 49ers' performance during the Super Bowl? Only time will tell.
Of course, anyone who follows Culliver on Twitter should know it isn’t just gay people he has some issues with. Only a few hours after his interview aired, Culliver tweeted a bizarre, backwards and badlywritten comment about women on their periods.
“Boy I wake up to a mean txt females in general just be -- well let me just say they be on there PERIOD!! #1 love is mom dudes!!! Period,” Culliver tweeted.
Culliver seems to be alone in this issue. The team released a statement condemning Culliver's commnents on Wednesday night.
"The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris," the statement reads. "There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community."
The 49ers even created an "It Gets Better" video to encourage gay youth not too long ago, though Culliver was not featured in the video. Watch it below.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.