‘It Gets Better’ campaign pulls NFL team’s video after players plead ignorance

By Arturo Garcia
Friday, February 1, 2013 13:16 EDT
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Isaac Sopoaga in San Francisco 49ers' 'It Gets Better' video
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An anti-bullying campaign aimed at LGBTQ teenagers has deleted a contribution from the San Francisco 49ers after two players denied their involvement in the project, even after being shown the video.

According to Think Progress, “It Gets Better” campaign founder Dan Savage announced on Twitter that the video featuring team members was pulled from the campaign’s website.

“We don’t want videos of people who didn’t realize what they were doing,” Savage told OutSports on Thursday. “It’s a project specifically aimed at LGBT kids and their unique need for support and role models.”

The 49ers, who will play in the Super Bowl against Baltimore on Feb. 3, were the first National Football League team to submit a video for the campaign. The video originally featured four players: Ahmad Brooks, Ricky Jean Francois, Isaac Sopoaga and Donte Whitner. But Brooks and Sopoaga both denied to USA Today on Thursday that they took part in the campaign.

“This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay,” Brooks said. “It’s their right. But I didn’t make any video.” Sopoaga said he never went to the filming of the video and said someone was “using [his] name.”

After being shown the video, Sopoaga refused to comment, while Brooks said, “Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video.”

Brooks and Sopoaga were approached for comment following the release of an interview by another teammate, Chris Culliver, in which he told radio host Artie Lange that the team had no homosexual players.

“I don’t do the gay guys man, I don’t do that, Culliver said on Tuesday. “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.”

Sports Illustrated reported that on Thursday, Culliver said he did not consider his remarks to Lange to be cause for concern until “until they posted it and everybody made a scene so big.”

Culliver also said he had gay relatives who he supported, even if he did not talk to them daily.

“If you hear the whole interview, if you hear my voice, I don’t have nothing against gay people, nothing against any homosexuals.”

Watch Brooks and Sopoaga in the team’s “It Gets Better” video, originally released in August 2012, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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