The Chicago Bears football team on Thursday denied having any involvement with the Ruth Institute, an anti-gay group.


Equality Matters reported Wednesday that the group announced a raffle that included two pieces of memorabilia from the Chicago Bears, a jersey autographed by former linebacker Brian Urlacher and a picture autographed by deceased running back Walter Payton. The announcement thanked the team "for supporting our message."

But the Bears denied having donated the items to the Ruth Institute, a subsidiary of the National Organization of marriage.

"The two items featured in The Ruth Institute gala invitation were personal donations to (President) Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse," the team told the Chicago Tribune. "Neither was a club donation, nor do they represent the team's view on any social issues. Any remarks stating otherwise are false."

Urlacher also denied any involvement with the organization.

"I sign a lot of stuff for charity and I don't always know where it goes," he told the Tribune. "If I would have known it was for this cause, I wouldn't have done it."

In 2008, the mother of Urlacher's young son accused the football player of confusing the boy with "effeminate antics" that could result in him becoming gay. Urlacher responded that he didn't care and would love him either way.