Fooch's Note: Culliver transcript added below
Yesterday, we had our first (and hopefully only) cluster of Super Bowl week as Chris Culliver made some stupid statements regarding gays in the NFL. The 49ers quickly issued a terse statement, and Culliver followed with his own statement.
Naturally, given the fish bowl that is Super Bowl week, this all meant Culliver would have to address the media. The 49ers had full player availability on Thursday, and Culliver was front and center for the media.
I managed to get a few minutes of video. The sound isn't great, but you can get a general sense of his comments. They are mostly a rehash of his press statement from Wednesday. The most "interesting" part if you willis the awkward ten seconds of silence at the start before someone yells out "Ask him!" It was pretty uncomfortable early on.
As I said before, I simply hope that Chris learns from this and gains a little perspective. Jim Harbaugh had a few basic comments on it in his AM press conference:
(on Chris Culliver's statements) "We reject what he said. That's not something that reflects the way the organization feels, the way most of the players feel."
(on if Chris Culliver's statements will impact his playing time in the Super Bowl) "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."
(on what was said in the conversation between he and Chris Culliver) "I wouldn't walk you through. I treat those conversations as private conversations. But, I do believe that there wasn't malice in his heart; he's not that kind of person. He's not an ugly person; he's not a discriminating person. He may have heard talk like that and may have thought that that was what his opinions were that he learned, but he regrets that. That's not who he is, that's not what he really believes in. I think it took this incident to hear those words being said by home and to see them written down on paper, for him to realize that they were hurtful and ugly. I know that he takes that to heart and I really think this is something he'll learn and grow from."
Chris Culliver transcript
(on his experience the last 12 hours) "Just emotional, sensitive, and apologetic. There's a lot of words I can [use to] describe [it]."
(on his mindset when he made the comments) "[I was] really just not thinking. [It was] something that I thought. Definitely nothing that I felt in my heart."
(on when he spoke with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh) "We talked, and that's between us. I'd say we talked about the whole situation, and learning and growing from it. Like I said, that's not what I feel in my heart. He understands that and I told him that as well."
(on whether he would accept a homosexual teammate) "If it is, then it is. Everybody is treated equally in our locker room."
(on whether he has said anything to his teammates about his comments) "No, my teammates didn't try and talk about it. We are trying not to have any distractions to the team. We're trying to win a Super Bowl."
(on what he can learn from this experience) "Just learn and grow. Like I said, just talk to the media and when people come at me with questions, answer to the best of my knowledge."
(on whether this has affected his preparation for the game) "No."
(on whether the NFL is ready for an openly gay player) "I don't know. If it is, it is upon that person to do whatever he or she feels."
(on whether he realizes how far reaching this is) "I understand."
(on whether he knew who he was talking to when he said this) "Yes, a comedian."
(on whether he knew something was different based on the other questions that he was asked by Artie Lange) "Yeah, he was really disrespectful. Really disrespectful."
(on whether he was tempted not to answer his questions and walk away) "Yeah. There were just so many people around and so many different questions and things like that."
(on what he would like people to learn about him after all of this) "I don't have [any] differences with other sexualities, just like that. Like I said, that's not what I feel in my heart and I treat everyone equal in any type of way. It's not how I feel."
(on whether he was dreading facing the media) "I just wanted to face the situation and let everyone know how I feel in my heart. Just to tell them [that] I'm not that type of guy."
(on whether he expected so many people to react to his comments) "Yes, because of our state and being in the Super Bowl with all of the other hype that goes around it."
(on what would he say to the people of San Francisco) "I'm sorry that I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments, and that's not what I feel in my heart. Hopefully, I can learn and grow from this experience and this situation. I love San Francisco."
(on whether he realized the seriousness of his comments despite the questions being in a joking format) "It was never in a serious matter. Like I said, it was a matter that I should have took time and thought about it. What I just went through and what I just said, it was nothing that I felt in my heart."
(on what he learned from this) "I definitely learned to keep my composure and not do any interviews like that. I know that."
(on whether he talked to his family about this) "I talked to quite a few of my family [members]. Mainly my mom - that's the closest to my heart. We had some deep conversations and she knows how I feel. Like I said, I love my mom and thank her for all the advice in the world."
(on what his mom said to him) "Really, she knew I was going to have to come forward, just to be strong, and [with] my statement this morning. That's what I'm doing."
(on why he said this despite it being the opposite of what he believes) "You get hung up on so many people coming at you in so many different directions and so many different questions. Like I said, it was just something that was just not what I felt and I just said, kind of like just get of here or something like that. It's not what I felt, and that is why I'm addressing the situation today and this morning."
(on whether he understands the outrage his comments caused) "Like I said, I support gay people, gay communities, and different racial [backgrounds]. It was just something I feel apologetic to, and I'm sorry that I made a comment and that hurt anyone - that I made a comment that might affect anyone in the organization, NFL, or anything like that."
(on what his family members said to him) "Like I said, I just cleared it up with them. We talked about it. They understand me. I have quite a few relatives that are homosexuals. I talked to them about it. Some people contacted me, and I just talked about it with them and moved on. They understand where I was coming from and they heard everything. That's why they called me directly. They heard from me."
(on whether he found out over the course of the last few hours that he had gay family members) "I knew that before."
(on whether comments like his make it more difficult for a teammate to go public that they are gay around him) "I don't really know how to address that situation. If it was someone in the locker room who was gay, and then [all] 53, 60, or 90 men we have on our team, I'm close to, so I don't think that would be a problem."
(on whether he agrees with Ravens S Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has spoken out in the past for gay rights) "I believe that. Anybody has any entitlement to what they want to do and what they want to believe. That's like saying somebody wants believe in Jesus or somebody wants to believe in a different race. That's what they want to do and that's how they were raised, then they have to take that upon themselves. Everybody has different beliefs and different feelings about what they believe in certain situations, and I just take it like that."
(on whether he thinks his comments were a big deal) "They are a big deal. What I said is just something, like I said, that I'm addressing this morning to not escalate the situation and not bring any distractions to my team, the organization, or the NFL."
(on how this affected his game preparation) "No, it didn't take away from anything. The game plan is still the same, and just go forth from there."
(on whether he thought that the questions were off-putting at any point) "His first question was very disrespectful. I felt a little offended, but there was just so many people around. I couldn't get away from everybody."
(on whether he considers the comedian as a member of the media) "No, I just consider him a comedian. Guys like that shouldn't harass players like us [during the media session]. Hopefully, something will happen but I don't know."
(on his conversation with 49ers safety Dashon Goldson) "I'll just keep that between us. We had conversations, but I'm not trying to approach many guys or talk to many guys because I don't want that to be a distraction for the team and for an incident like this to cause us to not win the Super Bowl or something like that. That's what these guys are here for, that's what I'm here for, and that's what we're trying to do."
(on whether he is concerned that he will be known as the guy who does not want a gay teammate) "No because, like I said, I'm approaching this and talking about it with you guys now and explaining how I feel. If anyone has questions about that, that's why I'm talking about that now."
(on whether he will have to speak about his comments for many years to come) "I don't know. Hopefully not."
(on how accepting he would be to have an openly gay teammate) "Like I said, [I would] be accepting of it. If someone did come out and say that they were gay on a team, then oh well. I'm accepting to it, like all of the guys that I have a relationship with. It's not a guy that dislikes me or something like that, because I have relationships with everyone on the team. We're all friends."
(on what he wants to say to people in his community) "I apologize and I'm sorry. That's not what I'm feeling in my heart and that's why I'm addressing the situation now. Like I said, I know I will learn and grow from this situation."
(on whether any gay or lesbian people that he knows reached out to him) "Yes. Like I said, I talked to one of my relatives and we had a good conversation - that's why they called me."
(on how those conversations enlightened him) "They enlightened me because they knew how I felt. They knew that it was taken out of turn. It was something that I had to address and something that I'm apologetic for. That's not how I feel in my heart and that's why I'm talking about it now."
(on whether he feels that a lot of football players agree with his comments) "I don't know what other people believe in. Like I said, everybody has different beliefs like in Buddhism or God or anything like that. We're all different races and things like that. Like I said, whatever you support is whatever you support."
(on whether he knows that he has a gay teammate or not) "No, I don't know about anything like that. I don't know."
(on who the relative he talked to was) "It was just a person that I talked to. I don't want to share that information."
(on clarifying any misimpressions that people have about him right now) "[The misconception] is that I don't like homosexuals and I don't support the gay community and things like that. Like I said, which I do. I have gay relatives and I talk to them like not on a daily basis but a couple of times [a week]. I do support that."
(on whether he has thought about reaching out to the gay community) "I've talked to a number of people already."
(on whether he has spoken to any gay organizations) "I did not speak to any gay organizations, no."
(on the context of the interview) "If you hear the whole interview, it was disrespectful questions at first. If you hear my voice and what I said, I don't have anything against gay people and I don't have anything against homosexuals."
(on how the interviewer was dressed) "Like a regular reporter."
(on whether he thinks there is a problem with the legitimacy of the media day format) "It does take away from the legitimacy of it. Like I said, it's overwhelming for a lot of players. Hopefully something can be done about real reporters and not real reporters, but that's not under my control and there is nothing I can do about that situation."
(on whether he has experienced pain in the last 24 hours because of this) "It has been really painful for the last 24 hours, yes."
(on whether his mom was mad at him at first) "No, my mom is always open to anything. She didn't take a side and she didn't take anything. I think we had a 38 minute conversation about it. Like I said, we just talked about a lot of things."
(on whether his mom asked why he said it) "Not necessarily why I said it, but just ways that it was said. She knows how I felt and what I mean because she knows that I know that we have homosexuals in our family."
(on whether he is aware that the league and teams have taken action about these kinds of things in the past) "I just believe that if you shouldn't be asking certain types of questions in that atmosphere. If it's not dealing with football and it's not dealing with anything like that. When you come at somebody and you start off a conversation with something like he said, hopefully we can have some [difference between] real reporters and not real reporters."
(on whether he had anxiety about coming down here to talk to the media) "I didn't sleep that much. I tossed and turned thinking about it. It affected me, yes, and that's why I'm addressing it today."
(on whether he can put this behind him ultimately) "Yes. I have [49ers director of public relations] Bob [Lange] and a lot of the PR guys helping me out with the situation and talking with me about it - keeping me level headed, to be on track, and trying to help me out as much as possible."
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