San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver has released a statement through the team apologizing for his derogatory remarks regarding homosexuals.
Culliver said on Media Day Tuesday that he would not tolerate a gay teammate in the locker room and went as far as to say that any gay athlete should wait 10 years after they are retired to come out of the closet.
The 49ers quickly denounced Culliver’s comments and now Culliver has made a statement through the team:
"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel. It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience.”
It is fair to assume Culliver will be a popular figure during the 49ers’ media access on Thursday. It’s also fair to wonder if Culliver actually crafted this statement by himself or if the club and/or a public relations professional had a major hand in shaping it.
With any luck, Culliver's major misstep will serve as an example for athletes in the future. Before today, few football fans knew the second-year player as the third cornerback and a special teams mainstay for the 49ers. Now, they know he is homophobic and foolish with his words.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune