The 49ers’ players are open to having gay teammates in the locker room.
Defensive back Chris Culliver’s recent anti-gay comments were candid, blunt, and controversial. When asked recently if the 49ers would accept an openly gay teammate in the locker room, he answered with a resounding “no.” The question came on the heels of former 49er Kwame Harris being accused of beating his ex-boyfriend.
The 49ers have since come out with a statement denouncing Culliver’s words, and Culliver himself has since apologized.
But does Culliver actually speak for the team? The San Francisco Chronicle’s Kevin Lynch asked players on the 49ers if they would be open to having a gay teammate.
Lynch’s questionnaire of 49ers players happened a few months ago, so their answers are not in direct response to Culliver’s statement. The writer only recently decided to publish the player’s responses. The resounding answer: 49ers’ players are open to gay teammates.
Here are the players responses. First Lynch asked Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley:
“I have no issues. I feel like everybody should be who they are. … I think this is a different generation. It’s more accepted.”
Cornerback Tarrell Brown:
“To each his own, whatever makes you happy, do it. I just feel like, you shouldn’t hide it. At the end of the day don’t be embarrassed with what you are, or what you do. If you are that way, that’s you.”
Guard Alex Boone:
“I had a friend who came out and I was like all right, cool. I didn’t know he was gay and he came out and it didn’t change anything. We were still friends. It was like all right, cool. Who cares?”
Linebacker Tavares Gooden:
“I don’t have an issue with a teammate being gay or anything like that. As long as we respect each other space and every other’s mind than we are fine.”
Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner:
“I don’t think it is fair to begrudge or belittle anyone.”
Defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois:
“If someone did (come out), I would still respect them. It doesn’t matter, they are still my teammate, still my friend off the field too.”
Linebacker Larry Grant:
“I’ve known guys that I’ve played with in the past (who were gay). When you’re younger you hear different kinds of jokes, when you are in high school and college. At the end of the day, we are all family in this locker room, and we accept each player for whoever they are. … It’s all a brotherhood.”
Not only are 49ers’ players open to gay teammates, they want those men to feel comfortable to be who they are in the locker room.
What do you think? Is it a positive sign for professional sports that so many 49ers’ players are open to having gay teammates in the locker room?