San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver apologized Thursday for his anti-gay slur saying his comments were “ugly” and “he is not that kind of guy.”
“I am sorry I offended anyone. It was ugly comments. It is nothing I feel in my heart. I hope I can learn and grow from this experience. I love San Francisco,” he said.
The 24-year-old Culliver made the remarks about gays to American comedian turned radio show host Artie Lange during Tuesday’s Media Day.
Lange asked Culliver if any members of the 49ers were homosexual or if he had ever been approached by “gay guys”.
“I don’t do the gay guys man, I don’t do that,” Culliver said. “Nah, we ain’t got no gay people on the team.
“They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah, can’t be in the locker room.”
Culliver said he was trying to be funny at the time and wishes he had got up and left the table instead of continuing the interview with Lange.
“It was just something in a joking matter but not what I feel in my heart,” said Culliver, whose 49ers are in New Orleans to play the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl 47 on Sunday.
“I don’t have any disrespect of people in other sexualities. I just want to face the situation and let everyone know I am not that type of guy.”
Culliver also said that gay players should wait 10 years after retirement before revealing their sexuality.
Asked Thursday if the NFL is ready for a gay player to come out in the open, Culliver said, “I don’t know if it is. That would be on that person.”
Culliver said he didn’t think his anti-gay comments would be a distraction to his teammates during Super Bowl week.
“I am not trying to be a distraction to the team. I am trying to win the Super Bowl,” he said.
This is Culliver’s second season playing in San Francisco which has the highest percentage of gays (15.4 percent) of any city in America.
The 49ers tried to distance themselves from the comments by issuing a statement on Wednesday, saying “There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.”
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said the coaching staff spoke with Culliver but he refused to releases details of what was said.
“We treat those conversations as private,” said Harbaugh. “I do believe there wasn’t any malice in his heart. He is not an ugly person or a discriminating person.”
The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign blasted Culliver for his “homophobic” comments, saying it showed the worst type of “ignorance”.
“Chris Culliver’s comments represent the height of ignorance and the type of homophobic banter that professional athletes rarely use any more,” said vice president Fred Sainz.