By TED SILLANPAA
Three 49ers gave their views on gays in the National Football League, but only one has become a flashpoint for what will become a national controversy.
The USA Today published a story quoting two 49ers about whether they view former 49ers offensive lineman Kwame Harris any differently after a public altercation with his former male partner revealed that the former Stanford star is gay.
Delanie Walker told the USA Today in regard to Harris that, “That’s him. If that’s what he’s into, that’s what he’s into. I can’t judge a person for how he feels. Things happen. He was a great player. I don’t see him no differently.”
Punter Andy Lee said, “Whatever sexual preference you have, that’s your own thing. That’s not anything for me to judge you on.”
Shock jock and comic Artie Lange interviewed defensive back Chris Culliver at Super Bowl media day and the Niners player said:
“I don’t do the gay guys man. I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.”
Culliver went on to expose himself as a near monosyllabic interview subject who gave about the explanation of how gay players would be accepted in the NFL as we would’ve expected … in 1965.
“Can’t be with that sweet stuff,” Culliver said. “Nah … can’t be … in the locker room man. Nah.”
It’s 2013. While NFL locker rooms can’t be expected to be a hub for cultural understanding and diversity, it’s unfortunate that guys with barely intelligible thoughts like those Culliver expressed overshadow more enlightened views from his teammates that more reflect America in this century.
Of course, Artie Lange is a standup comic who went to media day looking for a guy like Culliver to take a stance like he did — ideally with references to “sweet stuff” and how he’s certain the 49ers “don’t got no gay people on the team.” Culliver’s comments attracted a load of attention to Lange’s radio show that, frankly, I didn’t know existed until Culliver’s comments were made public.
The USA Today and other media outlets took a little more time to find players to discuss, briefly, their view of a former NFL player (Harris) coming out as gay. The USA Today went looking for what players think today. As one would expect, Lange took the approach a shock jock would take and likely asked the same question regarding homosexuality in the NFL of any number of players until Culliver finally gave him the answer he could use to get attention for his radio show … and make Culliver and his NFL peers seem beyond ignorant.