49ers cornerback Chris Culliver made some serious waves both inside and outside of the world of sports yesterday. As we told you last night, he did an interview with Artie Lange yesterday and was asked his feelings about the idea of playing alongside a gay teammate. And, he didn't hold back when he answered Lange's questions, going as far as to say that any players on the 49ers would have to "get up out of here" if they admitted they were gay. His opinions obviously didn't sit well with a lot of people, and he was forced to issue an apology late Wednesday night.
"I'm sorry that I offended anyone," he said in a statement released by the Niners. "Those were very ugly comments. That's not what I feel in my heart. Hopefully I can learn and grow from this."
But, that's not the end of it. Over the last 24 hours, there's been no shortage of reactions to Culliver's comments—some from current NFL players, others from NFL fans. But, we were particularly interested in how the city of San Francisco would react to Culliver's comments. So, we went ahead and gathered the best reactions to the controversy from those who live, work, and play in San Fran, including many of Culliver's teammates. And, after looking at them, we bet Culliver wishes he would have answered Lange's questions much, much differently now, eh?
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York: "I saw him this morning and told him, 'It's up to you to live up to your apology.' He made a bold statement of wanting to get to know the LGBT community…You see a football player that had an uninformed opinion and now he can grow in his sort of experience and be a beacon for everybody in the locker room for the 49ers and hopefully through the NFL, to show it's more than what your uninformed, juvenile opinion is of something. And that's what I want to push Chris to do."
San Francisco resident Dave Cunningham, speaking with TV station KCRA 3: "We're supposed to be better than that here in San Francisco."
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: "We reject what he said. That's not something that reflects the way the organization feels, the way most of the players feel…I think it's going to impact him going forward. I think it's something that he will learn about himself. You saw his statement; he pledged to grow from it. It will affect him. Hope and pray that it affects him in a positive way going forward."
San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner: "If I was a gambling man, I would probably think there [will be backlash against Culliver]. That's why the comments that he made were so big, because the city we're actually in, there is a large population of people who are gay. There are probably a large number of people who come to Candlestick Park every weekend that are gay. It was just a mistake by him and I know he wishes he could take it back."
San Francisco-based gay athlete advocacy group The Last Closet: "Culliver's comments are a perfect example of why there needs to be more discussion amongst the sports hierarchy about how to combat homophobia."
San Francisco Chronicle writer Ann Killion: "Culliver's ignorant comments are the same ignorant stuff that was spouted a decade ago, when then-49ers running back Garrison Hearst said, 'I don't want any faggots on my team.' It's the same bullying that we've heard too often in professional sports."
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis: "He said what he said yesterday and I know that's not his heart. Culliver is a great kid, great guy. I love having him on our team…He's just young and it's unfortunate that he came off the way he came off."
San Francisco 49ers legend Ronnie Lott: "Everything [President Obama] mentioned in [his Inauguration] speech, I stand for—inviting gays and inviting people of color, inviting all of us to understand what we're doing right now, is the right thing."
San Francisco resident Brandon Kazen-Maddox, speaking with TV station KCRA 3: "It's kinda close-minded. It's not that awesome. It's pretty backward."
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss: I don't think we should tear a man's head off or a woman's head off just because of their sexual preference. I think we're all good people. I really believe we should be able to look beyond that in this day and age. It's here in our world, it's not like it just came yesterday. So for us to act like, 'Oh my God, this is like a bad disease that just hit out country,' it's not."
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