By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com February 01 2013 3:17 PM ET
Two of the San Francisco 49ers players who participated in an It Gets Better video released last year by the Super Bowl–bound team now say they didn’t realize it had anything to do with LGBT issues.
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga at first denied ever making the video, the first by an NFL team in the campaign, when asked about it Thursday by USA Today, which broached the subject because of their teammate Chris Culliver’s antigay comments this week. Then, when reminded about the video, they said they didn’t realize its purpose was to address antigay bullying.
“I didn’t make any video,” Brooks said initially. “This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay. It’s their right. But I didn’t make any video.” Then a reporter showed him the video on an iPhone, and with his memory jogged, he said he thought it was just a general antibullying message. When the journalist told him that most bullying of young people occurs because of sexual orientation or gender identity issues, Brooks said, “I know that. OK, you’re right and I’m wrong. Are you from one of those New York newspapers?”
Sopoaga also denied making the video until it was shown to him. He then asked what it was for, and was told it was an effort against anti-LGBT bullying. According to USA Today, he said, “Yeah, OK,” then declined further comment.
In related news, another player from the Baltimore Ravens, the 49ers’ Super Bowl opponent, has joined other NFLers saying they would have no problem with a gay teammate. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs also said the rest of his team wouldn’t either, NBC Sports reports.
“On this team, with so many different personalities, we just accept people for who they are and we don’t really care too much about a player’s sexuality,” Suggs said. “To each their own. You know who you are, and we accept you for it.”
Retired pro football player Wade Davis, who recently came out as gay, has written an op-ed for The Advocate on the need for supportive pro athletes. Read it here.
UPDATE: It Gets Better Project founder Dan Savage has removed the 49ers video from the project's site, he said via Twitter. It may be the first time an It Gets Better video has been taken down.