NEW ORLEANS — A day after issuing a statement apologizing for anti-gay comments, 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was still under fire Thursday and was hounded with more questions about the topic when he and the rest of the teammates met with the media.
After feeling the backlash of the remarks, Culliver indicated he was talking in a “joking manner” and that he “treats everyone equal.” The second-year player said he was aware the comments were especially distasteful because he plays in San Francisco, which is home to a large gay population.
“I’m sorry if I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments,” said Culliver, who mentioned he has gay family members. “Hopefully I learn and grow from this experience and this situation. I love San Francisco.”
Earlier in the week, Culliver told comedian and radio host Artie Lange on Super Bowl Media Day that a gay teammate wouldn’t be welcome in the San Francisco locker room.
“I don’t do the gay guys, man. I don’t do that,” Culliver said during the interview. “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.”
Coach Jim Harbaugh, along with the 49ers organization, were quick to denounce the statements Culliver made.
“We reject what he said,” Harbaugh said Thursday. “That’s not something that reflects the way the organization feels, the way most of the players feel.”
Harbaugh said he had a conversation with Culliver and came away feeling like the cornerback was aware of the damage he had done, but it wasn’t a true indication of his character.
“I do believe that there wasn’t malice in his heart; he’s not that kind of person,” Harbaugh said. “He’s not an ugly person; he’s not a discriminating person.”
That sentiment was echoed by several teammates, including linebacker Patrick Willis.
“He’s just young and it’s unfortunate that he came off the way that he came off,” Willis said. “I know he didn’t mean it in his heart.”
Culliver is a key member of the 49ers’ secondary, coming in on nickel package situations. He’s hoping he can get the focus back on his team’s preparation for the Baltimore Ravens and Sunday’s game.
“We are trying not to have any distractions to the team,” he said. “We’re trying to win a Super Bowl.”