Chris Culliver | NFL | Sports

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NFLer Terrell Suggs: 'We Don’t Really Care Too Much About A Player’s Sexuality'

TsuggsEarlier this week, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was vocal about his feeling that he does not welcome gays in the NFL or the locker room. He later issued a statement and said he was "apologetic."

One of Culliver's opponents during this Sunday's Super Bowl has a far more enlightened stance. Pro Football Talks asked Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs if he would have an issue with having a gay teammate. His response? “Absolutely not.”

Suggs went on to say:

“On this team, with so many different personalities, we just accept people for who they are and we don’t really care too much about a player’s sexuality. To each their own. You know who you are, and we accept you for it.”

Meanwhile, The Trevor Project announced today that Culliver will work on the organization's educational training program. Their press release reads in part: "It is with this concept in mind that Chris has unilaterally reached out to The Trevor Project to seek guidance and education about the LGBTQ community through The Trevor Project's renowned Trevor Lifeguard Workshop LGBTQ Training Program."

Read the full release, AFTER THE JUMP

San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver to Commence LGBT Educational Training Program with The Trevor Project

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Chris Culliver, cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, recently made hurtful, hateful, homophobic comments about gay athletes playing in the NFL. Chris immediately issued both a written and publicly communicated apology for his remarks; however, Chris recognizes these apologies neither excuse his statements nor sufficiently convey Chris' remorse for the situation he created, and the people he offended. Regardless of what has been and what undoubtedly will be said about Culliver's comments and his subsequent mea culpa, the simple fact remains: action expresses priorities. It is with this concept in mind that Chris has unilaterally reached out to The Trevor Project to seek guidance and education about the LGBTQ community through The Trevor Project's renowned Trevor Lifeguard Workshop LGBTQ Training Program.

Rather than attempt to downplay the severity of the issue at hand, or shy from the situation in the interests of mitigating damage to his reputation, Chris intends to embrace this ordeal as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. The Trevor Project is the nation's leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people, ages 13-24. The Trevor Project, however, is not only a resource for LGBTQ youth in crisis, but also for the adults who care about the LGBTQ community. Surprisingly, Chris has gay family members and close friends for whom he cares deeply. Chris's cousin, Andrew Brown is one of the celebrated directors of Word Is Out, the first feature-length documentary about lesbian and gay identity made by gay filmmakers; an iconic film for the emerging gay rights movement in the 1970s. Brown has come forward in support of Chris and his efforts to educate himself about the true impact of his commentary.

The Trevor Project offers age-appropriate education programs to help people of all ages learn more about the unique challenges faced by youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and those who question their sexual orientation, gender identity. Lauren McGinnis, Communications Director for The Trevor Project, expressed the following sentiment: "We really feel that education about LGBT youth and the challenges they face is a great way to get [Chris] started on the right path, especially since he's a role model and there are kids all over the country with his poster on their wall, his jersey - his fans that take his words and actions to heart." The Trevor Project in no way condones, accepts, or attempts to validate Chris' comments; however, The Trevor Project looks forward to working to help Chris become a better role model for his fans and the general public. Both Chris and The Trevor Project recognize it will be a long road to genuine understanding, but both are eager to use this experience as an opportunity to take steps towards eradicating this type of ignorance in the NFL and in society as a whole.

In Chris' own words, "As an African American male, I should know better. Hate and discrimination have a lasting effect, and words matter. I also have a responsibility to myself, and especially to my young fans to be a better role model. The kids who look up to me and other athletes are the future of our country, and our future deserves better than fear, hate and discrimination... I was wrong, and I want to learn how to make it right. That's why I reached out to an organization called The Trevor Project... No child should ever feel like they are less than anyone else, and God has put me through this storm so I can learn from my mistakes and help make sure no child has to feel that way, again."

In the weeks immediately following Super Bowl XLVII, Chris will be working with The Trevor Project staff and volunteers to learn about the risks that LGBTQ youth face and how Chris can do his part to reduce those risks. The Trevor Project has partnered with other notable athletes and celebrities, such as Shaquille O'Neil, Lady Gaga, Daniel Radcliffe, and Queen Latifa, among others, to help disseminate tolerance and understanding for the LGBTQ community. The Trevor Project is thus the perfect organization to educate Chris about how to use his celebrity status to empower youth to know that they have value and deserve a chance to live and be who they dream to be, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Chris, like the rest of the resilient 49ers, believes the true content of one's character is revealed in times of adversity. As such, Chris is determined not to hide from this crisis, but rather to take the actions necessary to make it right.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Theodore Palmer – Publicist – Creative Edge Public Relations – (646) 575-2967 – TPalmer@creativeedgepr.com

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Comments

  1. This guy is such a liar! If that were true, why isn't any player out? There are enough players on any team to make it a statistical certainty that there is a gay player on his team. That player won't ever come out because in reality he knows he can't. No gay player will ever be accepted by his straight homophobic jock teammates.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Feb 2, 2013 11:51:10 AM


  2. I, for one, appreciate that he's making a real effort. He could just have had the obligatory GLAAD meeting and moved on and shut up. But working with the Trevor Project sound like (SOUNDS LIKE) a real effort on his part and assuming he learns something, this could be a good thing.

    Posted by: Cal | Feb 2, 2013 11:54:58 AM


  3. They are being much to kind to Culliver. The man should be suspended. He should NOT play in the Superbowl and he should face a major fine. He has done tremendous damage to the credibility of the NFL and the 49ers and why officials refuse to accept that is disgusting and disheartening.

    Culliver has the education of a 4th grader and has demonstrated quite clearly his overwhelming homophobia. No benefit of the doubt, no apology - the man needs to be thrown out of football.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Feb 2, 2013 12:07:06 PM


  4. Actually I would disagree that Terrell Suggs is a liar--his statement comes on the heels of Brendon Ayanbandejo's work on behalf of marriage equality--it would make sense that the Ravens would have this approach about gay players coming out given how visible BA has been on this issue. There is still a lot of work to be done but these guys, along with other NFL players affiliated with Hudson Taylor's Athlete Ally program, are trying to make it safe enough for a gay player to come out. They're hopeful it will happen and believe that it will. The situation has changed dramatically over the last few years which is why Chris Culliver's homophobic remarks attracted such a strong condemnation and response in the first place.

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 2, 2013 12:08:54 PM


  5. Yes, isn't he just too wonderful?
    He'll be a big asset to the Trevor Project.

    Posted by: John Vermeer | Feb 2, 2013 12:09:08 PM


  6. So sickening to see the Trevor Project "working with" Culliver on another ridiculous PR campaign. These "It gets better" ads and the like have been categorically proven by the 49ers who starred in them to be totally fake and worthless. It's time the gay community (which seems to be packed with politically correct *ss-kissers) demand a little more than a weak apology and window dressing.

    Posted by: niles | Feb 2, 2013 12:13:03 PM


  7. Wow! I wonder how as gay men we got the reputation for being bitchy queens?

    Posted by: Kenny C | Feb 2, 2013 12:24:35 PM


  8. I oughta be rooting for 49er. I'm a gay guy from CA with ties to the bay area. But not this year.

    The 49ers have been denigrating gays consistently in the run-up to the game, while the Ravens have made it *very* clear they support equality. Yeah, it matters. The 49ers can go to hell.

    Posted by: adamblast | Feb 2, 2013 12:27:26 PM


  9. @Matt

    Perhaps Suggs is not a liar. Almost certainly he is too stupid to realize he has a gay teammate that is afraid to come out because he knows what would happen to him if he did. The point is, his team is not welcoming of a gay player, and we know this because no player on his team is out, yet it is statistically certain he has a gay teammate. Therefore the guy is dumb as a rock, or a liar. Take your pick.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Feb 2, 2013 12:28:07 PM


  10. I respect Suggs comments, and I respect the fact that Culliver contacted the Trevor Project.

    After 3 days of being disgusted by Chris Culliver's inappropriate comments, the decent part of me has accepted his apology.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Feb 2, 2013 12:32:32 PM


  11. Culliver is doing the right thing to rectify his grossly ignorant and indeed harmful comments.

    This is what we want to happen, in regards to situations like this. How many times has the speaker of such bigotry waltzed away with barely apologizing? Far too many.

    This is good news, and I'm glad he's stepping up to be a real man and educate himself on this issue.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Feb 2, 2013 12:35:34 PM


  12. @ Null, your name-calling of allies is shooting us in the foot. No gay player will ever come out without allies like Suggs.

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 2, 2013 12:41:23 PM


  13. Please ignore Nullnaught. His claims, allegations and over-the-top sweeping generalizations are getting out of hand.

    He makes outrageous claims, then when you call him on it he says he didn't make them. Or he says his claims are true facts but when he is wrong says his facts (they are really only opinions but he doesn't know the difference between fact/opinion) are "false facts" but are still right.

    He is a blowhard who thinks he knows everything but really knows nothing. Don't debate him or engage him. It's what he wants. Don't be fooled by his other names JASON/YUPP/AJ/STEVE. He will change his name again, but his ramblings stick out like a fart in church.

    Posted by: ENOUGHWITHTROLLS | Feb 2, 2013 12:45:38 PM


  14. I agree completely Littlekiwi. His apology could have been the end of the story and has been for many athletes in the past. Working with the Trevor Project will allow him to interact with LGBT people and see what life is like for him. I know many still think he should be suspended but education at this point is better than punishment. Besides, sometimes our constant need for retribution whenever someone says something bad about us can be very off-putting.

    Posted by: KT | Feb 2, 2013 12:49:41 PM


  15. @ Enoughwithtrolls, thanks for the heads up!

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 2, 2013 12:59:04 PM


  16. We don't know what would happen to a Gay player if they came out because none of them have been brave enough to take that risk.Twenty years ago there were no openly gay police officers or firefighters.They were afraid that they would be left out to dry or wouldnt get back up from fellow officers or firefighters.Now almost every major city has Gay first responders.One brave NFL player has to make that major sacrifice.

    Posted by: Kim | Feb 2, 2013 1:04:29 PM


  17. If Trevor Project is spreading the fiction of an "LGBTQ community", that's not going to lessen the ignorance around gender and sexuality. It's just going to lead to more confusion.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Feb 2, 2013 1:07:13 PM


  18. @Enoughwithtrolls

    That is funny, you accusing others of posting under multiple names! Hahahaha! I told you before to ask a philosopher about this online. A fact can be false. The word "fact" does not mean that it is true. There are true and false facts. Ask any philosopher. Don't take my word for it. I am telling you the truth, or I wouldn't tell you to ask an impartial third party. The word "fact" means that it is theoretically verifiable through testing. If you weren't an intellectual coward, you would ask a philosopher and then apologize to me publicly. Try taking a college course that requires a physical experiment. Try taking an introduction to logic course; both are available at reasonable prices at your local community college. Then come back and tell me what is what.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Feb 2, 2013 1:11:41 PM


  19. when Stuffy and the other anonymous-sock-puppet trolls are against something you can bet it's something everyone with a brain should support.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Feb 2, 2013 1:16:17 PM


  20. @Nullnaught, have you ever though that the reason someone hasn't come out publicly on Terrell's team, has more to do with potential commercial success, rather than what the teammates think?

    And for all you know there may be one out on his team, Terrell is hardly going to start naming names and outing people. Just because he didn't name anyone or say "yeah there are some on my team" (which would lead to hunt by the press) doesn't mean he is lying.

    Posted by: Devonasa | Feb 2, 2013 1:20:03 PM


  21. @Devonasa

    I have stated elsewhere that the reason a team member won't come out was twofold. I should have clarified here; that his straight homophobic teammates won't accept him is one reason. The other reason is the fans won't watch gay players any more than they will watch women players. There is no rational reason for this bigotry. It is just that people who watch sports are so stupid they imagine that image matters and to them gay players don't fit the image and nor do women players. I have stated that they hold this position before and then been called a homophobe as if I held the position myself. I do not. I simply believe this is how the audience feels.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Feb 2, 2013 1:31:35 PM


  22. Passing off a false fact when it is proven false still makes it false. You keep trying to pass it off as true. You are wrong.

    Posted by: MIKE | Feb 2, 2013 1:43:14 PM


  23. @Mike

    My evidence is this: People like Ayanbandejo receive much hate mail for their work. Fans don't appreciate it. Some of my evidence is anecdotal in that it is my own experience with jocks. Some of my evidence is the fact that when Culliver made his comments his teammates remain pretty much silent, excepting those who now distance themselves from past anti-bullying work. This is known as 'tacit consent.' His teammates agree with him and we know by their silence. I have seen nothing presented as counter evidence, other than a few opportunist statements made by his rivals. Do you care to present some counter evidence? Seriously, if you have seen my posts in the past you will know that I differ from most who post here, other than Mary, in that I have consistently changed my mind when reasoned with and told facts I was not aware of. If you know of some reason I should believe a gay teammate will ever be welcomed by straight players and the fans let me know and I will change my mind. Otherwise, I will continue to state what to me is obvious.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Feb 2, 2013 2:20:39 PM


  24. As pointed out to you in another thread, but you keep making the claim:

    "An example would be all the 49ers who remain silent in the face of Culliver's comments. By being silent, they are tacitly agreeing with him."

    Or maybe, just maybe they were told to shut up and not say anything by the 49'ers head office, you know, their bosse?? They are going into the biggest game of their careers and this has become a distraction so I'm sure they were told to not make it any worse and instead focus on training for the game. Did you ever think about that?

    Posted by: DUDE | Feb 2, 2013 2:27:00 PM


  25. Chris Culliver has got my attention with his very public examination of conscience. At this point, I feel about him the way I would about an alcoholic who has just landed in AA: you're on the right track, let's see how you do with it. I want you to succeed.

    All this attention to the attitudes of players may be misplaced. Sure, Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball. But it was Branch Rickey's decision to make that happen.

    Let's hold 49ers management's feet to the fire: asking a player to come out puts the cost on him; ask instead that the NFL seriously recruit out gay football players.

    As a community we've been shy of asking for affirmative action for ourselves even while many of us supported it for women and racial minorities. It's time to reconsider that and insist that members of our team have a place in the chance to be members of theirs.

    Posted by: Rich | Feb 2, 2013 2:32:53 PM


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