San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver got into a mess of a situation last year the week of the 49ers Super Bowl matchup with the Baltimore Ravens when he made some ignorant comments about gay players in the locker room. He was asked by Artie Lange about the notion of having a gay teammate. Culliver's response at the time:
"No, ain't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah. Can't be in the locker room, man. Nah."
Naturally this was not well received. The 49ers rejected his comments, and Culliver issued an apology and went through a lengthy Q&A on the matter toward the end of Super Bowl media week. After the season ended, Culliver met with The Trevor Project, which is a group that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services forLGBTQ youth (ages 13-24).
At the time, I wasn't sure how much of that was just to make a good showing and clear up his public image. However, since then, Culliver has continued his efforts to educate himself about LGBTQ issues. He recently conducted an interview with the Bay Times, a newspaper that covers the LGBTQ community in the Bay Area. He spoke on a range of topics, including Michael Sam and Jason Collins coming out over the last year.
The article opened with a quotation from Nelson Mandela, when he said "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." While we can never know for certain what's in a man's heart, I do think Culliver deserves acknowledgement for the time and effort he has put in to educating himself on these issues. He has spent more than just passing time in trying to better understand the situation. It has been easy to mock him for his previous comments, but I think he is showing he is a changed man.