Bullying | Football (American) | News | San Francisco | Sports

SF 49ers Brooks and Sopoanga At First Deny Participation, Then Say They Didn't Know 'It Gets Better' Video Was for Gay Kids

Another wrinkle in the discussion around San Francisco 49ers and gays unfolded yesterday as two players, linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, were being questioned by reporters about Chris Culliver's anti-gay remarks.

BrooksBecause Brooks and Sopoaga participated in the 49ers 'It Gets Better' video last year, reporters figured they would have an interesting perspective on the story, but a new controversy arose when Brooks and Sopoaga both denied participating in the video, and then, when they were shown it, said they never knew it had anything to do with gays, and then appeared to want to distance themselves from it.

USA Today:

At first, Brooks and Sopoaga, approached by USA TODAY Sports, denied being part of the project.

"I didn't make any video," Brooks said. "This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay. It's their right. But I didn't make any video."

When told USA TODAY Sports had seen the video and he was in it, Brooks replied, "I don't remember that. I think if I made a video, I'd remember it." He was shown the video on an iPhone.

"Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video," he said.

SopoagaWhen told that studies show that the majority of teens who are bullied are harassed over sexual identity issues, Brooks thought for a second. "I know that. I know that," he said. "Okay, you're right and I'm wrong. Are you from one of those New York newspapers?"

Unfortunately, someone apparently forgot to deliver the message to the players that this was a video that supported gay rights.

Sopoaga, too, denied making the video, even while teammate Will Tukuafu, who overheard the question, tried to refresh his memory. "Yeah, you made that video, remember?" Tukuafu said.

"No," Sopoaga said. "I never went. And now someone is using my name." Sopoaga was shown the video. "What was that for?" he asked.

To ask teens to stop bullying other teens because of sexual identity, he was told.

"Yeah, OK," he said. Would you like to comment on it, he was asked. "No," he said.

Multiple players wanted to be in the video, USA Today adds, but only the most intimidating players were chosen.

Dan Savage tweeted last night: "We've removed the #49ers #ItGetsBetter video from our website. #homophobia #NFL #horsesh*t"

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Keep digging, assholes.

    Posted by: Mark Alexander | Feb 1, 2013 8:14:51 AM

  2. Karma might just pay them a nasty visit on Sunday. That would make my day.

    Posted by: Jack M | Feb 1, 2013 8:16:30 AM

  3. Looks like the 49ers team needs a pre-Super Bowl pep talk and PR lesson. Stat.

    Posted by: wwolffus | Feb 1, 2013 8:19:13 AM

  4. This is not going to end well.

    Posted by: chasmader | Feb 1, 2013 8:20:47 AM

  5. Not exactly brain trusts, are they?

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Feb 1, 2013 8:21:01 AM

  6. What a bunch of lunk-heads.

    If I were lucky enough to be a pro football player and was asked to be in a video, you can bet I'd want to know exactly what the purpose of said video was.

    If they didn't know that bullying was mostly about kids sexual orientation, they apparently don't know how to read a newspaper or use the internet.

    Or perhaps they simply don't know how to read.

    Posted by: johnny | Feb 1, 2013 8:27:38 AM

  7. Try this email if you feel like letting them know how much worse loosing the battle against homophobia is compared to loosing a game of catch..


    Posted by: pickles | Feb 1, 2013 8:44:06 AM

  8. One gets the feeling that the SF 49 ers have been conducting a fraudulent exercise in PR on the gay rights front. Oh, we're from San Francisco and therefore we must be gay-friendly - get my drift?

    It would appear now that the It Gets Better campaign from the 49 ers may be another part of the liberal masquerade.

    Posted by: stephen lucas | Feb 1, 2013 8:46:50 AM

  9. The NFL, teams and their players are constantly lobbied [pressured] to do public service-type stuff. Anyone who has worked for a large firm knows all about being pressured to 'volunteer' for this or that. Many people do it because it looks good on their resume. They of course knew what it was for and who it was directed at, and they did it because they were pressured by their team management, who in turn did it because it made them look good. No doubt they didn't expect this widespread publicity [they were probably told only the gay community would ever see it], and now they're 'embarrassed'. Naw yo, I ain't down wit dat sh*t,yo...know what I'm sayin'?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 1, 2013 8:47:55 AM

  10. Isn't time for the uber liberal politicians as well as the uber activist gays in SF to start bitching? Most liberal city in the US...with a football team full of haters. Nice.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Feb 1, 2013 8:48:18 AM

  11. OK. Maybe. Just maybe these two guys didn't know that the anti-bullying video that the 49ers made was for the "It Gets Better" campaign--a project started primarily to address the rash of suicides committed by young LGBT people because of identity harassment. Maybe.

    But watching these two guys try and weasel their way out of having participated in the video because it might be just a little too "homo" for them is not only hilarious but profoundly disturbing, if not disgusting.

    I think these dudes need a serious attitude adjustment and some serious sensitivity training. I'm being nice. What I'd like to do is take an official NFL football and shove it down their throats sideways.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Feb 1, 2013 8:50:51 AM

  12. Do any of you remember Garrison Hearst? He was also a player for the San Francisco 49ers. In 2002, he was quoted as saying "I don't want faggots in the locker room". Today, we have Chris Culliver, also on behalf of the San Francisco 49ers.

    Posted by: stephen lucas | Feb 1, 2013 8:51:39 AM

  13. The love the SF LGBTs have for their team seems unrequited. The team moves to Santa Clara and slags a big part of their fan base. Go, Niners. Just go away.

    Posted by: mike | Feb 1, 2013 8:53:04 AM

  14. Dan Savage should have this video removed and he should make its removal a PR nightmare for the 49ers.

    Posted by: Michael Demmons | Feb 1, 2013 8:54:52 AM

  15. Stephen Lucas:

    "It would appear now that the It Gets Better campaign from the 49 ers may be another part of the liberal masquerade."

    It's more likely a disconnect between management & players than it is any sort of fraud. It is disappointing that they may not have made it clear to the players what they were doing (or maybe some of the players are just that dumb, I don't know).

    Posted by: Josh V | Feb 1, 2013 9:07:18 AM

  16. well dan, did they know or didn't they??

    Posted by: t | Feb 1, 2013 9:10:56 AM

  17. "Telegram for Mr. Mongo, Telegram for Mr. Mongo." Don't ask these Neanderthals to many hard questions or they'll punch your horse.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Feb 1, 2013 9:19:11 AM

  18. This is Exhibit #1 for the NFL's defense in the lawsuit from brain damaged former football players. Clearly, playing in the NFL did not cause brain damage. They started out that way.

    Posted by: turing's ghost | Feb 1, 2013 9:31:43 AM

  19. What a tema of intellectuals. They must read Kierkegaard out loud just before the game begins.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Feb 1, 2013 9:34:40 AM

  20. Oh, come on, they must be totally retard to don't know what was the it gets better campaing. That was pretty huge, and even if they don't know what they did in that momment, they have a lot of time to discover it after that.

    The worst part is they make look back their teammates that did that video, because people is going to think that they are the same.

    These people are really not smart, because a smart one really knows that right now, acting like an homophobe is not looking good in the media.

    Posted by: jjose712 | Feb 1, 2013 9:38:03 AM

  21. It seems that they were asked to be part of something they did not want to be but for PR reasons the management made them.

    Posted by: James | Feb 1, 2013 9:38:15 AM

  22. what a PR Nightmare...wow

    Posted by: disgusted american | Feb 1, 2013 9:47:29 AM

  23. Just heard Dan Savage is REMOVING the 49'rs video from the IT Gets Better website...yikes!!!

    Posted by: disgusted american | Feb 1, 2013 9:48:40 AM

  24. Has this been one of the worst weeks in terms of homophobia in a long while? It really sure seems like it. Just amazing. Amazingly horrendous.

    If these two guys didn't know what the It Gets Better campaign was all about, or simply forgot, that's one thing. The incredible defensiveness, the denials, even when after being shown the video they participated in and being told what it was about, speaks wonders.

    Just goes to show the depths of homophobia within sports that making a video denouncing anti-gay bullying is something players would distance themselves from.

    Posted by: Francis | Feb 1, 2013 10:45:50 AM

  25. It's the team managements fault. I bet they just told them that they were making a run of the mill anti-bullying PSA. Okay, cool. Athletes do that all the time. I can totally believe that they didn't elaborate that "It Gets Better" targeted gay kids, and so these two guys went in and arbitrarily participated, not knowing that this was gonna be used for the gay community. I'm not mad at them.

    Posted by: Sabian | Feb 1, 2013 10:53:06 AM

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