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And now someone is using my name
February 1, 2013 7:08 AM   Subscribe

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver gave an interview this week stating, among other remarks, that "we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do." Although he has since apologized for the remarks, the backlash continued yesterday 49ers' linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, both of whom participated in the team's widely-praised "It Gets Better" video last summer, have denied ever producing the clip.

"This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay," Brooks told the publication. "But I didn't make any video." Later, after he was reportedly shown the video on an iPhone, the player clarified, "Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video."

Even more curiously, Sopoaga similarly denied taking part in the clip, even as a teammate reportedly tried to jog his memory. "I never went," he declared. "And now someone is using my name."

"It Gets Better" project founder Dan Savage tweeted last night: We've removed the #49ers #ItGetsBetter video from our website. http://huff.to/YmkK2S #homophobia #NFL #horseshit

The 49ers face the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday in t he Superbowl.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (231 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cornerback.

Chris Kluwe is pretty awesome on this stuff:

While he’s certainly entitled to speak his mind, Culliver is a role model whether he likes it or not. There are kids all over the United States who aspire to be right where he is and he has an obligation to consider the effect of his words. Kids are listening.”
posted by Drinky Die at 7:12 AM on February 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


As a Steelers fan, this makes me want to watch the Super Bowl even less.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm torn between angrily expressing my absolute disgust and parsing the double negative statement as a tacit admission of something.
posted by Bromius at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


When I danced and the topic came up I'd say "there are more gay pro football players than gay professional ballet dancers". Never actually did any stats to prove that but I think I'll stand by it.
posted by sammyo at 7:15 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


In the NFL's long history, there has never been an openly gay active player. However, sexual orientation has increasingly come into the spotlight recently.

I don't think I ever realized this. Have any players ever come out after retirement?
posted by jquinby at 7:16 AM on February 1, 2013


This is helpful, in a way, because I don't really follow football (though I do like to watch it), and now I know to root for the Ravens on Sunday.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:17 AM on February 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


Interesting article on this topic from Salon. I'm all for the Ravens now because of this (not a football-invested person) and it's pretty remarkable that football and "LGBT rights" are mixing in the mainstream media (beyond homophobic and transphobic commercials). Link about "semi-open" gay football players.
posted by anya32 at 7:17 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, it's not like the 49ers represent one of the gayest cities in America. I'm sure there will be no repercussions.

Oh, unrelated, but now I'm sure that I'm rooting for the Ravens this weekend.
posted by inturnaround at 7:18 AM on February 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


Ah, well, google to the rescue: Wade Davis on NFL Players Who Live Semi-Open Gay Lives
posted by jquinby at 7:18 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


there are more gay pro football players than gay professional ballet dancers

"There just aren't that many NFL players. Hell, my one time with the 49ers defensive line has got to have swayed that stat a bit."
posted by jaduncan at 7:19 AM on February 1, 2013


Well that makes it easy to choose a team to pull for.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 7:21 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Ravens' vocal linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo responds. Previously.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:21 AM on February 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is helpful, in a way, because I don't really follow football (though I do like to watch it), and now I know to root for the Ravens on Sunday.

Well, the Ravens' most popular player is a murderer, so...
posted by dirigibleman at 7:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [13 favorites]


Yeah, when your choice is "probable murderer" and "bigot," I'm not sure there's a right choice. Except puppies, of course.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2013 [27 favorites]


I don't think I ever realized this. Have any players ever come out after retirement?

A few. Esera Tuaolo came out after he retired. Wade Davis (neither the baseball player nor the ethnobotanist) played in a few preseason games and came out recently. Wikipedia says there were two before Tuaolo, guys who played in the 70s, but that's before my time.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2013


Oh great, now I have to root against *both* teams on Sunday.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:29 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense.
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:30 AM on February 1, 2013


Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense.

Well, it's a step above the arbitrary, naked tribalism I usually use.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2013 [113 favorites]


Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense.

... why exactly is it nonsensical to root against a team with vocal bigots on it? What other metric would be better, exactly?
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:33 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense.

so why do you root for teams? are they mindless robots providing athletic entertainment? no, rooting for a team is a vicarious action, you want to be part of that team in some way.
posted by sineater at 7:33 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


To be fair Chris Culliver also tweeted this gem (since deleted):

"Boy I wake up to a mean txt females in general just be — well let me just say they be on there PERIOD!! #1 love is mom dudes!!! Period"

which raises concerns about his fitness as a human being and speaker of English.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:34 AM on February 1, 2013 [44 favorites]


Have any players ever come out after retirement?

Kwame Harris, who played for both the 49ers and the Raiders, is out. Unfortunately I only discovered this recently because he was arrested for domestic battery of his boyfriend.
posted by asterix at 7:34 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, it's a step above the arbitrary, naked tribalism I usually use.

So what's wrong with who's got the snappiest uniforms?
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:34 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stop looking to football players for enlightenment.

"Culliver is a role model whether he likes it or not."

Yeah, not really. What an asshole.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:34 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense.

My team (the one with the convicted dog murderer under center) was eliminated from playoff contention back in October. So how the heck else should I pick a new team to root for? This reason is as good as any.
posted by inturnaround at 7:35 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Culliver is a role model like Chris Brown is a role model.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:35 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's at moments like these I'm glad they're not going to be called the Santa Clara 49ers.
posted by Talez at 7:35 AM on February 1, 2013


Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense.
I don't know, it seems like it might be the prevailing attitude/culture within the team, when they're not being forced to read apoligies or participate in It Gets Better videos (and then deny being involved in them.)

Also, that Brendan Ayanbadejo seems like a very cool guy, thanks for that link.
posted by chococat at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2013


... why exactly is it nonsensical to root against a team with vocal bigots on it? What other metric would be better, exactly?
Having some basic knowledge about NFL football, the culture, and in particular, the makeup of the teams playing each other: the personal history of the players, you know, stuff that common sense might bring you.
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2013


"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel."

What?
posted by scottatdrake at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2013 [43 favorites]


When I danced and the topic came up I'd say "there are more gay pro football players than gay professional ballet dancers". Never actually did any stats to prove that but I think I'll stand by it.

I think this statement needs unpacking. It's either obvious because there are more professional football players than ballet dancers (I don't know if this is the case--I can't figure out how many professional ballet dancers there are), subtly homophobic and making a crack about football being homoerotic or relying on the assumption that there'd be pressure for gay boys to appear as 'masculine' as possible, driving them towards football and away from ballet (Marcus Urban has a theory that you could identify gay footballers by looking at the number of sending offs, though I think he sounds like an idiot when he raises this theory, but he was more experience of professional soccer than me) and I have no idea which you mean.
posted by hoyland at 7:38 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I had to guess which of the major US sports has the first still-active out player, I'd guess baseball.
posted by drezdn at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2013


As a born-and-bred Murlender, I would have been rooting for the Ravens anyway. The fact that they have at least two pro-equality players on their team, and the 49ers have three homophobic players on theirs only makes it easier. The cognitive dissonance of the former playing for a city where they've spoken up against elected officials being intolerant and the latter playing in a city known for being very tolerant is very weird.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]



Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense.

Sports are, at their heart ridiculous. Poorly educated and overly developed steroid abusers running in circles and hitting each other, with gladitorial fans screaming for blood in the stands. That being the case, it seems that rooting for the team that employs slightly fewer openly ignorant assholes is as valid a thought-process as any.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2013 [38 favorites]


I don't know, it seems like it might be the prevailing attitude/culture within the team, when they're not being forced to read apoligies or participate in It Gets Better videos (and then deny being involved in them.)

This came out long before the nonsense with Culliver:

"In one of those shouldn't-be-a-story-but-is stories today, Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh has said, more or less, that the team would be totally cool with it if one of the players were to come out of the locker, as it were.

When questioned about how he would feel coaching an openly gay Niner, Coach Harbaugh said, "I ask all players to play through their own personality and be who they are. What you ask of a player is to be a great teammate and be a good player. My expectations would be the same... Personally, there’s no discrimination in my heart.”
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


Obviously there's no gay football players. They just smack each other on the ass in a strongly heterosexual way.
posted by petrilli at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Having some basic knowledge about NFL football, the culture, and in particular, the makeup of the teams playing each other: the personal history of the players, you know, stuff that common sense might bring you.

Personal history like saying they think gay people should get out of the locker room! A-greed! Done and done!

Go Ravens (and common sense)!
posted by inturnaround at 7:39 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel."

What?


It's a roundabout way of saying "I'm not clever enough to reconcile my salary with my impulse to say dumb, hurtful things."
posted by MuffinMan at 7:40 AM on February 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


uraniumwilly: "Taking a player's stupid remarks as an indication as to who you should root for makes so much sense."

There is 0% doubt that I would be fired from my job (with impunity) if I went on TV and said something like this.

How does it reflect on an organization when it allows one of its most visible employees to openly profess bigotry on national television while wearing that company's uniform, and face no disciplinary action of any kind?

Sorry, but no. The fact that the 49ers management allowed this to stand speaks volumes about the entire organization. Fuck them. Go Ravens.
posted by schmod at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [50 favorites]


Having some basic knowledge about NFL football, the culture, and in particular, the makeup of the teams playing each other: the personal history of the players, you know, stuff that common sense might bring you.

This must be some weird definition of "common sense" that hasn't entered wide use, probably because it could only exist in a world where the NFL, football culture, the teams, and the players have been physically injured and/or defamed by actual gay people in the name of oppressing straight people.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


My money would be on hockey. It's a fairly macho sport, but all those Scandinavians and Canadians? That seems like a decent place to come out.

Also, if Sean Avery can come out for gay rights, that says something about the atmosphere.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Re: picking who to root for. If your team isn't in it (and mine isn't), why can't you arbitrarily pick a side?

For me, I've got pros and cons for both sides.
49ers
Pro: Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee and is adopted.
Cons: Jim Harbaugh seems like an asshole.
The anti-gay comments.
San Francisco just won the World Series this year.
San Francisco has already won a bunch of Super Bowls.

Ravens
Pro:
Cons: Joe Flacco isn't that great of quarterback.
Ray Lewis would be insufferable.
posted by drezdn at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but no. The fact that the 49ers management allowed this to stand speaks volumes about the entire organization.
So, in other words, Schmod, you don't know what you're talking about. That the 49ers didn't allow this to stand is actually the fact of the matter. Believe me, I don't give a fuck who you root for.
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:44 AM on February 1, 2013


the culture, and in particular, the makeup of the teams playing each other: the personal history of the players, you know, stuff that common sense might bring you

How about this:
"Wow, there seem to be a lot of homophobic bigots on that team. I really don't want them to win the Superbowl and perpetuate that shit anymore. Go other team!"
posted by chococat at 7:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


Honestly, I'm rooting for the 49ers mostly because I find Ray Lewis's transformation from guy charged with murder to elder statesman of the game to be bizarre and confusing and I kind of want to see him cry.

I'm not nominating myself for "Nice Person of the Year" or anything, mind.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


Your Honor, my client Mr Culliver has clearly denied the existence of homosexual persons in his organisation. Furthermore, my client strongly denies making such a denial. It has been put to my client that he participated in a pro-tolerance event regarding such alleged homosexual persons. However, the evidence clearly indicates that the event was not a so-called pro-tolerance event, but rather an anti-anti-tolerance event, and additionally my client did not attend such event, and thirdly such event did not take place. May it please the court, my client is not, in fact, my client at all. In the alternate, I am not my client's attorney. This is, in our submission, not a courtroom, and no evidence has been put to challenge the presumption that your Honor is in fact a volleyball on which a smiley face has been drawn, in black and blue ink (as the case may be). However, it is not apparent that no plea of insanity has not failed to have been withdrawn. We respectfully submit that we do not, under any circumstances, make submissions respectfully, without prejudice to the strong argument to the contrary that we will now totally refute, which itself is an illusion. I am not failing to avoid the lack of stopping to cease wearing pants. I reiterate that lie by failing to submit any arguments against its denial contrary-wise. In summary, therefore; no, and also, not the aforementioned, and in conclusion the reverse of everything hereby claimed which in fact wasn't anyway. Thank you. But not really.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [41 favorites]


There is 0% doubt that I would be fired from my job (with impunity) if I went on TV and said something like this.

Major League Baseball suspended a player for anti-gay eye black. I'm surprised the NFL hasn't at least fined him (but I'm not shocked that they wouldn't suspend a player in the Super Bowl).
posted by drezdn at 7:46 AM on February 1, 2013


They can't remember? That whole NFL brain trauma thing must be a thing after all.
posted by scruss at 7:46 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


The NFL is like this giant cancerous tumor on the country's genitals that we are in denial of.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:47 AM on February 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


So what's wrong with who's got the snappiest uniforms?

If I cheered for the best uniforms I'd be rooting for the Raiders, which is the first sign that something has gone seriously wrong in your life.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:48 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ray Lewis would be insufferable.

Ray Lewis is already insufferable. I am rooting for the puppy bowl participants. I will be watching the game, but rooting for neither team. But next year, the home team will win the Super Bowl and I don't mean the buttfumble team. Go Big Blue
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:48 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to say, his apology was one of the best that I've seen in recent years. None of the hemming and hawing that most folks do when they don't really want to apologize.
posted by jph at 7:48 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but no. The fact that the 49ers management allowed this to stand speaks volumes about the entire organization.

This organization?
posted by juiceCake at 7:49 AM on February 1, 2013


If I cheered for the best uniforms I'd be rooting for the Raiders, which is the first sign that something has gone seriously wrong in your life.
I'm rooting for the team that seems closest to Jesus.
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:49 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cons: Ray Lewis would be insufferable.

I'm sure you meant more insufferable, right?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:49 AM on February 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Boy I wake up to a mean txt females in general just be — well let me just say they be on there PERIOD!! #1 love is mom dudes!!! Period"

What are mom dudes? I, for one, would like to know.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


On Sunday I will be rooting for a meteor to hit the stadium. Sorry, New Orleans, nothing personal.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm rooting for the team that seems closest to Jesus.

Isn't that just whatever team wins?
posted by drezdn at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


tbh at this point rooting for a rumbling fissure to open at the 50 yard line
posted by en forme de poire at 7:51 AM on February 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


It was a forthright apology, but I am a little tired of people behaving as though somehow the thing they said isn't actually who they are in their hearts. Yes it is. It is part of who you are. You are capable of insensitivity, of discrimination, of hate. You expressed a real part of yourself there, and, unless you acknowledge it, I can't really see how you can address it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:51 AM on February 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


BOO METEOR, GO FISSURE
posted by en forme de poire at 7:51 AM on February 1, 2013 [42 favorites]


"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel."

My thoughts and feelings are in perfect alignment. I think that Culliver is a moron and a jerk, and I feel that he is as well.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:52 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Terrell Suggs, Ravens linebacker: “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. To each their own. You know who you are, and we accept you for it.”
posted by troika at 7:52 AM on February 1, 2013 [32 favorites]


Also, I know everyone wants a gay player to come out while still playing, but honestly I have to say I can't imagine why anyone suggests that. Didn't we just uncover an incentive system for injuring other players? Does that not give anyone else pause where a gay player is concerned? I just know that if I were a gay player, I would hate to immediately become "10 points" to every single other player in the league looking to make some extra money for disabling the fag.

But Bunny Ultramod, I feel like he addressed that too, saying that he wanted to grow and change as a result of this. That acknowledges that his current state is one that is in need of improvement.
posted by jph at 7:53 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having some basic knowledge about NFL football, the culture, and in particular, the makeup of the teams playing each other: the personal history of the players, you know, stuff that common sense might bring you.

In other words, whoever you think will beat the spread.

But if fantasy leagues were still in session, you'd just root for yourself.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:53 AM on February 1, 2013


That the 49ers didn't allow this to stand is actually the fact of the matter.

That depends on how you define "didn't allow this to stand." For instance, they issued a statement, not an apology. That statement indicated they had "addressed the matter" but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of such, despite the fact they publicly suspended a player just last month merely for badmouthing the team.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:54 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't really get the "well now I know not to route for the 49ers" thread. The team condemned the comments, very publicly, and several other players expressed differing views.

If you care about such things (ie football), not cheering for the 49ers for something like this feels like saying you won't support Barack Obama because he has a homophobic uncle. Newsflash: every team (and I'm guessing just about every similar agglomeration of people, however constituted) has people who feel this way on it. Just like they have people who disagree with Culliver.

Our society is in the middle of a process of overcoming prejudice towards the LGBT community. Some people are further behind than others. When they say shit like Culliver did, they should be condemned and he was. And while he obviously doesn't totally understand why what he said was problematic, he understands it better now than he did before.

There has been mention before on the Blue of You Can Play, which is working to create a safe environment for athletes to come out. When stuff like this happens (as it does pretty regularly), their typical response is not to simply condemn, but to pursue the opportunity for education.

Saying "well, fuck that guy and his team" is the easiest way to drive attitudes like this underground without actually addressing them.
posted by dry white toast at 7:55 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


You expressed a real part of yourself there, and, unless you acknowledge it, I can't really see how you can address it.

Such are Culliver's Travails.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:55 AM on February 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


I have to say, his apology was one of the best that I've seen in recent years. None of the hemming and hawing that most folks do when they don't really want to apologize.

This the most bizarre and terribly-organized piece of sports journalism I have ever seen. It starts with a straightforward report of the apology, but then veers into a throwaway reference to a former player on the team who has now come out. Then we get a couple of paragraphs devoted to criticism of the guy who interviewed Culliver, claiming it was his (the interviewer's) fault that this story broke, because he hadn't gone through the proper system of credentials required of reporters who want access to players before the Super Bowl.

It almost feels like ESPN is hedging their bets against agitating fans they know are homophobic. But I'm sure that couldn't possibly be it.
posted by Mayor West at 7:56 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


That depends on how you define "didn't allow this to stand." For instance, they issued a statement, not an apology. That statement indicated they had "addressed the matter" but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of such, despite the fact they publicly suspended a player just last month merely for badmouthing the team.
That's actually a good point. If the player had not apologized then the 49er organization should then suspend Culliver.
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Go Ravens.
posted by Foosnark at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate Ed Meese! Go China!
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Wade Davis dailybeast interview is very good and I do not think I would have seen it if this superbowlshit hadn't gotten posted here so I am grateful for that. One other thing that has not been mentioned is the "journalist" who got this sound bite originally is Artie Lange who is a Howard Stern cast member. During super bowl week unfortunately two morons talking can make news.
posted by bukvich at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2013


not cheering for the 49ers for something like this feels like saying you won't support Barack Obama because he has a homophobic uncle

Wait, what? As far as I know, all three of these guys will be wearing 49er uniforms on Sunday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Ravens just accept you for who you are, unless you are a cheerleader who gained 1.6 pounds.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Didn't we just uncover an incentive system for injuring other players? Does that not give anyone else pause where a gay player is concerned?

In football, I think the platonic ideal would be a quarterback coming out after winning the Super Bowl. Some players might try hitting the quarterback harder, but it's really the most "protected" position in the NFL.

This is partially why I think it would happen in baseball first. You can hit a player with a pitch or try to take them out on the basepaths, but there's not the level for physical confrontation there is in Basketball, Football, or Baseball. An American League pitcher would almost be untouchable.
posted by drezdn at 8:00 AM on February 1, 2013


A conversation I had at the store last night while buying a case of beer:

Clerk: "Getting ready for Sunday, eh? Who you rootin' for?"

Me: "Liverpool."

Clerk: *quizzical look* "Debit or credit?"
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:01 AM on February 1, 2013 [28 favorites]


Such are Culliver's Travails.

Your swift response has been duly noted.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:01 AM on February 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


Thank you, Chris Culliver, for speaking your ignorant homophobia out loud

What he said, especially:

Yes, there are seriously negative consequences to the public spewing of your ignorance. Young gay athletes will hear your words and step deeper into the closet. Bullies, who drive some of these gay youth to suicide, will be emboldened by your words. This is exactly why you’re being attacked on this from every side. Most Americans, heck, most of your NFL brothers, get it: What you said is damaging to sports and destructive to our culture.

The only place your language has in our society is to show how deeply ignorant, uneducated and hurtful that very language is.

And you’ve done that. You got Pardon The Interruption to make your comments and gay issues the lead topic on their show just four days before the Super Bowl! Other NFL players, like New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, have taken the opportunity to say very positive things. The gay community, with their powerful activists, are turning their attention to sports now more than ever. Web sites for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and the league’s very own NFL.com, are all covering this issue.

You did what the other 105 guys on Super Bowl XLVII rosters couldn’t do together if they all joined hands, stood at midfield in the Super Dome, and chanted, “You Can Play! You Can Play!” You did what Outsports’ articles about dozens of gay-friendly NFL players couldn’t do. You did that. You’re the new face of homophobia in sports.

posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:02 AM on February 1, 2013 [16 favorites]


But Bunny Ultramod, I feel like he addressed that too, saying that he wanted to grow and change as a result of this. That acknowledges that his current state is one that is in need of improvement.

I hope so, but that read as boilerplate apology. The NFL has some very good PR people who know what an apology should look like.

But I am somebody who hopes for the best, and wants to believe somebody when they apologize, whether they wrote the words or now. I just hope he realizes that just because his public behavior was out of whack with an idealized self-image means that the self-image needs adjusting, and the ideal needs to be worked towards, and not presumed. We all want to think we are tolerant people, and, when our intolerance is shown to us, it can be very hard to acknowledge. I've been there, and I expect most people have.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why should a players personal beliefs get him suspended?

I expect my employer to respect my beliefs, and I don't see why it should be different for a football player. They should not be held to a different standard then others (unless their contract says otherwise), and we shouldn't expect them to be of a better standard then the common man.

He was not expressing the will or opinions of the team or the league. The fact he is an idiot is not terribly relevant to his job.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, also? The best uniformed team in football hasn't been in a super bowl since they lost in 1984.
posted by troika at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2013


Major League Baseball suspended a player for anti-gay eye black.

TIL somebody thought ornate eye makeup was the best way to mock others' perceived lack of masculinity.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wait, was Kwame Harris's recent assault charge (a fight that started over pouring soy sauce on rice) effectively his coming out? He wasn't out before that?
posted by purpleclover at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2013


Where is Bruce Dern when you need him?
posted by Danf at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2013


When I danced and the topic came up I'd say "there are more gay pro football players than gay professional ballet dancers". Never actually did any stats to prove that but I think I'll stand by it.

Except think back to the shitstorm that ensued when it was somehow decided Mike Piazza was about to come out. Baseball's shockingly conservative. Part of me thinks someone could be out locally without being out in the national media and another part of me thinks that would be risking one's career. I think you'd have to be a superstar to be able to come out in the national media.

When I was a kid, there was a player who was known locally to be living with a guy who worked for the radio station. This was well-known enough that 12 year old me knew. I'm 97% sure they weren't together, mostly because I think it would have been kept quiet if they were. But aside from my mother being convinced this player was gay, I don't think there were rumours to that effect (probably helped by the fact that this player was known to chat up women in bars). But had they been together, I kind of suspect the gay community would have known and not other people (well, aside from the entire local sports media because of who the roommate was, but give him a different job in this hypothetical). This is certainly the case of a local media figure here--queer people often know or assume he's gay (because you're not that far removed from someone who's dated the guy, for example), but it's just never occurred to many straight people that he could be gay.
posted by hoyland at 8:04 AM on February 1, 2013


I'm sorry, but that's one of the weakest and offensively halfhearted apologies I've ever seen.

If you want a guide for how to handle a bigoted employee, Safeway (of all companies) is a pretty good lead to follow.

Basically, the steps are: The 49ers' management did done none of those things, apart from issuing a weak lawyer-driven statement to assure the public that the team does not support the brazen violation of California's anti-discrimination laws. Culliver's 'apology' was boilerplate at best. I'd have expected better from the NFL's PR trolls.
posted by schmod at 8:05 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have to say, his apology was one of the best that I've seen in recent years. None of the hemming and hawing that most folks do when they don't really want to apologize.

Exactly. Let’s broaden our context and find a little compassion for the kid. He sounds genuinely sorry for what he said.

Culliver was born to a 16 year old single woman in Philadelphia. His stepfather and cousin were killed at the age of 8. He nearly died during a routine surgery at the age of 20. He grew up poor and in a rough neighborhood. That's a pretty rough ride by anyone's standards.

He attended university, studying Sports and Entertainment Management.

What kind of life experience does a 24 year old have? What kind of broad life experience do you think a 24 year old who grows up in poverty has? What influence do you think his schools, his friends, his neighborhood had in developing his prejudices?

Now, he's certainly an expert at playing cornerback, but he's 24 and on the world stage and says something pretty horrific. He's got next to zero media training (as he's never been a star) and takes the bait that everyone is throwing around and the smarter, more experienced guys (many of whom share the opinion and reinforce it) know better than to take.

He's apologized, it sounds pretty genuine and maybe he'll learn from it. Can we find a little compassion for him, given all this?

Plus, if you're cheering for the Ravens, remember you're cheering for Ray "at best, obstruction of justice to a murder" Lewis.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:05 AM on February 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


How does it reflect on an organization when it allows one of its most visible employees to openly profess bigotry on national television while wearing that company's uniform, and face no disciplinary action of any kind?

Because the ability to play in the NFL--like most sports businesses--remains largely a meritocracy. You hope your star players aren't murderers or wife-beaters, but sometimes they are; the most important thing, however, is their play on the field. Sometimes they don't express themselves in ways that are PC, and that's why you have PR departments and team captains and assistants that can follow players around, but the nature of the sport being what it is, you just have to accept them and move on.
posted by resurrexit at 8:06 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Part of me thinks someone could be out locally without being out in the national media and another part of me thinks that would be risking one's career.

I recall it being pretty common knowledge that Esera Tuaolo was gay when he was with the Vikings, at least in the Minneapolis theater scene, where he did some work shortly after his retirement, including appearing in Connie Congdon's play "Dog Opera," which, in part, details a gay hustler, and was produced by Outward Spiral, a local gay theater.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:06 AM on February 1, 2013


Christ, what assholes!
posted by ericb at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why should a players personal beliefs get him suspended?

I expect my employer to respect my beliefs, and I don't see why it should be different for a football player. They should not be held to a different standard then others (unless their contract says otherwise), and we shouldn't expect them to be of a better standard then the common man.

Part of the business is marketing the players and the team. If you make your team and yourself look anti-gay it's damaging to the business in a generally gay friendly city and a nation that is getting there more and more.

You may want your beliefs respected, but if you are an open racist and your business serves the African American community, don't be surprised if you are rightfully seen as a liability to the business and let go. There isn't a double standard going on there.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


How does it reflect on an organization when it allows one of its most visible employees to openly profess bigotry on national television while wearing that company's uniform, and face no disciplinary action of any kind?

Culliver is a second year nickleback. Other than this, he's not one of the most visible employees in their secondary.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2013


When I danced and the topic came up I'd say "there are more gay pro football players than gay professional ballet dancers". Never actually did any stats to prove that but I think I'll stand by it.

This is a nice idea and a provocative thing to say to make people think, but I don't see how it could possibly be true. Figure that there are around four times as many professional football players as there are male professional ballet dancers. There is no way the rate of male homosexuality isn't more than four times higher among the ballet dancers than it is among the football players. Many of the straight ballet dancers I've known have been total hounds with the ladies because the percentages were so stacked in their favor, especially on tour (something I have a passing familiarity with as a performer of opera where similar percentages are at play).
posted by slkinsey at 8:09 AM on February 1, 2013


NBC Sports: Is The NFL Ready To Accept An Openly Gay Player? (Video).
posted by ericb at 8:12 AM on February 1, 2013


Amare Stoudemire has been fined $50,000 by the NBA after the New York Knicks star tweeted a gay slur.


Step up, NFL.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:13 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wait, was Kwame Harris's recent assault charge (a fight that started over pouring soy sauce on rice) effectively his coming out? He wasn't out before that?

I don't think he'd ever said anything publicly and it wasn't something people, even the niche of gay sports media, talked about openly (at least not anything I've read), but it was one of those things that people who know seemed to know. (Apparently, there was a blind item back when he was a player that said somebody was planning on coming out in the NFC and he was somebody who was guessed often.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:14 AM on February 1, 2013


They should not be held to a different standard then others (unless their contract says otherwise), and we shouldn't expect them to be of a better standard then the common man.

Oh, I am entirely sure that if I went on TV and said "there are no gay people working for my company, and if there are, they gotta leave" I would be fired within eight to ten seconds for publicly embarrassing my employer and creating a hostile work environment.
posted by griphus at 8:14 AM on February 1, 2013 [31 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos said
I find Ray Lewis's transformation from guy charged with murder to elder statesman of the game to be bizarre

I know. It's frickin Orwellian. I swear it's as if America has the head injury, and can't remember anything. Can't remember swapping missile parts for hostages. Can't remember why we went to war. And will still claim the head injury as an excuse the next time we kill.
posted by surplus at 8:18 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Figure that there are around four times as many professional football players as there are male professional ballet dancers.

Is this true? I'm trying to come up numbers, but I can't find any. There are 32 NFL teams, roster size is 53 plus 9 on the practice squad. That comes to 1,984 players on NFL teams. I suppose there are probably some people playing in non-NFL leagues, but that number is not going to be that high since the AFL and afl2 folded and the UFL only has four teams.

Are there really less than 2,000 male ballet dancers?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2013


Oh, I am entirely sure that if I went on TV and said "there are no gay people working for my company, and if there are, they gotta leave" I would be fired within eight to ten seconds for publicly embarrassing my employer and creating a hostile work environment.

I can't recall any player being fired for making this type statement. Maybe it's time to set a precedent. That would definitely send a message.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


During super bowl week unfortunately two morons talking can make news.

Thank goodness this is only true during super bowl week.
posted by the bricabrac man at 8:20 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I guess you aren't valuable enough, griphus :)

Ok, good point. Still, the problem is that no one is asking people normally. These football players are being asked about things that aren't relevant to their job, and getting on TV for it for silly reasons. Expecting them to have informed good opinions is kind of crazy.

From a embarrassed point of view, this is really the fault of the team/league. If they want their players to not say dumb shit, they need to train them when to shut up. Expecting some football prodigy to know better is seriously misguided. The fact that some do is a blessing, not an expectation.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:20 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we find a little compassion for him, given all this?

I have no problem humanizing people. In fact, I think it is important to do and I try to live my life honoring the whole of people. People are complicated. We are all complicated and make all sorts of decisions, choices. That said, we still should be held accountable for those decisions. I do not believe that someone's background should excuse their behavior. It can, perhaps, explain it, give a context to why actions were/were not taken (that said, so much stereotype is loaded into the description of his "rough" background - I am sure you can find examples of people who are not homophobic, and/or who are queer who grew up/are currently living Culliver's past). What he said was wrong. It hurt people and may support other people in hurting people. My compassion is directed elsewhere.
posted by anya32 at 8:21 AM on February 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


Fines?

When Goodell still has the evil scourge of interesting TD celebrations to wipe out? The man can't do everything at once.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


It was a forthright apology, but I am a little tired of people behaving as though somehow the thing they said isn't actually who they are in their hearts. Yes it is. It is part of who you are. You are capable of insensitivity, of discrimination, of hate. You expressed a real part of yourself there, and, unless you acknowledge it, I can't really see how you can address it.

Mitt Romney....are you listening?

This scenario played out in season 5 of Queer as Folk. The star quarterback of the Pittsburgh "Ironmen" either outed himself or was outed (can't remember). He was dropped from the team and of course the team started to lose badly. The team then asked him to rejoin and of course he did, victories ensued, and everybody lived happily ever after.

Is that too much to hope for in real life?
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know. It's frickin Orwellian. I swear it's as if America has the head injury, and can't remember anything. Can't remember swapping missile parts for hostages. Can't remember why we went to war. And will still claim the head injury as an excuse the next time we kill.

I know! I was in line at the Dunkin' Donuts in BWI the other day and people were talking about the game and it was all "even if you don't like the Ravens, you gotta like Ray" or "He's been through so much, I just want to see him get a moment in the sun." It was like I was in a bizarro world where Ray Lewis wasn't 1) A defendant in a murder trial and 2) Someone who had already won a Super Bowl and been the friggin' MVP
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't remember the last time I rooted for an NFL team.
posted by malocchio at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I guess you aren't valuable enough, griphus :)

OH THE HELL I AM NOT

Srsly, though, I'm not saying he should be fired (I'm not not saying it, either, I'm just Rather Ignorant of how football works.) I'm saying there's grounds for disciplinary action regardless of whether this was a pro football player or Steve from Accounts Receivable because he was being openly hostile to his gay coworkers.
posted by griphus at 8:26 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chris Kluwe is pretty awesome on this stuff:

I've been following him most of the year, since his wonderful letter made the rounds. I'm not into gaming, but he's a stand-up guy who is doing solid work on the ground for gay rights.

If you want to send a message to the NFL, turn the TV to another channel. Don't watch it, don't tweet about the damn advertisements, don't endorse their bullshit product. I personally am having moral problems again with the injuries, which has tempered my enjoyment, and this is just about icing on the cake.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:26 AM on February 1, 2013


i think it's hilarious people think that's his apology. watch any video of him speaking, read any of his tweets, read the original statement in context - that apology was written by PR and parroted by him - it is not in his vernacular. i hope he learns something from reading the thing someone wrote for him, but my hopes aren't high.

also, terrell sugg's full comment deserves to be posted, in case you need more reasons to root for the ravens (GO RAVENS!)
We wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Suggs said. “We don’t care. Our biggest thing in the locker room is to just have fun and stay loose. We don’t really care too much about that. We’re a football team. I said it yesterday; everybody deserves a certain amount of privacy. Who cares? Whatever a person’s choice is, it’s their choice.”

“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.”
his statement actually made me wonder if there's already a known to the locker room gay person on the ravens.
posted by nadawi at 8:27 AM on February 1, 2013 [21 favorites]



What kind of life experience does a 24 year old have? What kind of broad life experience do you think a 24 year old who grows up in poverty has? What influence do you think his schools, his friends, his neighborhood had in developing his prejudices?


This. It seems like mostly, he was just speaking about something he hadn't thought too deeply about. The classic mistake of talking without knowing.

I've gone on before about how I went from being a homophobic douchebag to loving father of an out and proud teenager.

I was 22 when my son was born, and 25 when I met the woman with the lesbian parents. I still cringe when thinking about some of the things I said and did.

I'm willing to take him at his word that his apology is heartfelt and that he means to change his thoughts and feelings on the subject. Only time will tell, though.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:27 AM on February 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


I can't remember the last time I rooted for an NFL team.

I enjoy watching sports and am a fairly athletic person, but I only root for the ball anymore.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


This story makes me angry. I live in San Francisco and am no big sports fan, but I'm proud of my city's team for winning the World Series and am looking forward to watching the city's other team win the Super Bowl. Except this, ignorant-ass goons on the team spouting off stupid stuff. The attempt to walk back the "It Gets Better" video is particularly offensive; way to spoil something nice you did.

I guess I shouldn't expect football players to be role models or particularly enlightened. But this story is such a disappointing reminder that even in San Francisco, the liberal and gay city, some of our representatives are anti-gay dumbasses. It just all feels so personal.

The way for the team to make amends is to do something public, on TV, during the Super Bowl. It doesn't need to be a big thing but they're about to have hundreds of millions of people watching them, they can do a little good.
posted by Nelson at 8:29 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


One more reason the watch the Celtics on Sunday instead. Coach Doc Rivers sat down with a Boston.com LGBT blog this fall to talk about gay issues and sports and came a cross as a guy who gets it.
posted by Biblio at 8:30 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Homophobes vs a team led by a suspected murderer, and both coaches are related to Tom Crean of IU. It it wrong for me to root for a giant hole in the earth to swallow the Superdome on Sunday, or at least the head coaches?
posted by COD at 8:31 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is so disappointing.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:32 AM on February 1, 2013


as to ray lewis - yes, he probably has something he's guilty of, yes his money got him and all of his friends out of trouble. but in this country you're innocent until proven guilty. i'm an atheist so i don't care about his deepening religious ties, but i do think since that moment he has made a real effort, not just parroted apologies, to live his life differently.

regardless, his football skill is amazing and he has carried the ravens on his back for the entire time they've been in existence. the team will be different without him and it's pretty rare that someone on the defensive side of the ball makes that sort of impact.
posted by nadawi at 8:33 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


What he said was wrong. It hurt people and may support other people in hurting people. My compassion is directed elsewhere.

He apologized and admitted that what he said was ugly and wrong. He held himself accountable for his decisions. His employer might not, nor has the NFL, but that's out of his control.

I mean, you have to ask yourself what this person could do to earn a little compassion from you in the short-term that he hasn't. He can't fine or suspend himself from his job (and even if he did, would it matter?) or do anything this week other than play football. I'm not saying we forget what he's done, I'm suggesting instead we pause for a brief moment and find a way not to completely write the guy off.

his statement actually made me wonder if there's already a known to the locker room gay person on the ravens.

Well, if you're going to play the PR card on Culliver, Terrell Suggs has been around the NFL long enough to know that making his team out to be the good guys keeps the non-football pressure on the 49ers and distracts them. PR goes both ways and his response does not sound like typical Terrell Suggs.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:34 AM on February 1, 2013


COD: "Homophobes vs a team led by a suspected murderer, and both coaches are related to Tom Crean of IU. It it wrong for me to root for a giant hole in the earth to swallow the Superdome on Sunday, or at least the head coaches?"

I'm rooting for Pepsi.
posted by schmod at 8:35 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like to imagine that the first NFL player to come out will be a hulking Vince Wilfork/Terrence Cody-sized dude who overhears a 195-lb cornerback spewing homophobic nonsense, quietly breaks the guy in half, then lumbers back to whatever he was doing.

"Oh. I guess Dave is officially out now. Um, congrats, Dave."

"Urgh."

"OK, then. See you at practice!"
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:37 AM on February 1, 2013 [13 favorites]


> his statement actually made me wonder if there's already a known to the locker room gay person on the ravens.

Wade Davis said there is approximately one on every team and nobody gives a shit. Way over half of them are solely preoccupied with trying to play well enough to stay in the league.
posted by bukvich at 8:37 AM on February 1, 2013


Having some basic knowledge about NFL football, the culture, and in particular, the makeup of the teams playing each other: the personal history of the players, you know, stuff that common sense might bring you.

We're talking about the Super Bowl, the game everyone watches. Not just NFL fans. You don't have to know any of that shit to cheer for a team in the Super Bowl. How ridiculous. And none of that is common sense, it's specialized knowledge.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:37 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am also shocked by the blatant grammarphobia.
posted by w0mbat at 8:37 AM on February 1, 2013


I was having a hard time deciding who to cheer for on Sunday, so on selfish note this whole thing has helped me make that choice. Silver linings?
posted by Kimberly at 8:38 AM on February 1, 2013


and his response does not sound like typical Terrell Suggs.

i disagree, i think it absolutely sounds like something in his voice.
posted by nadawi at 8:40 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I live in Oakland, so fuck 'Frisco.
I live in Cali, so can't root for the Ravens.
Traumatic brain injury is a real thing, so I can't just root for whomever is currently on defense, because those are the cats getting a shoulder down and putting a hit on someone.

At this point, I'm just gonna read a book instead and listen to my neighbors hoot and holler across the building, and if I start hearing screams and "OH SHIT! WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT COME FROM?" I'll check the newsfeeds see if any meteors or fissures showed up.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:43 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


regardless, his football skill is amazing and he has carried the ravens on his back for the entire time they've been in existence. the team will be different without him and it's pretty rare that someone on the defensive side of the ball makes that sort of impact.

Not that this is a football thread, but Ray Lewis has not carried the Ravens on his back alone - Ed Reed is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, Terrell Suggs is well on his way there and a number of others have come and gone during their time.

He's the glue and clearly the emotional leader, but even now he's an average linebacker on the field, talent-wise and a great leader.

Also, I balk at the idea that defensive players don't have that kind of impact, but that's a whole other thread I'll start composing!
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:45 AM on February 1, 2013


We're talking about the Super Bowl, the game everyone watches. Not just NFL fans. You don't have to know any of that shit to cheer for a team in the Super Bowl. How ridiculous. And none of that is common sense, it's specialized knowledge.

I don't agree. The question was "... why exactly is it nonsensical to root against a team with vocal bigots on it? What other metric would be better, exactly?"

In our information age if you don't know anything about the teams you can read just one article and get the personal history, usually of the quarterbacks, the coach and the stars of the team. That's why it's common sense. Having some background information about such things, in my opinion, is a norm -- especially if you're answering the question about what is the better metric.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:45 AM on February 1, 2013


If you don't care about football, I'm sure there are other open threads you're interested in.
posted by troika at 8:49 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


i didn't say he did it alone. i just said he did it.
posted by nadawi at 8:49 AM on February 1, 2013


Mefites overreacting to a story three days old, that has been through the ringer and argued from every side? No... Part of Culliver's contract is a non-discrimination clause, and regardless of what veritable troll Dan Savage thinks about it, the 49ers were the first NFL team to take part in the "It Get's Better" campaign, and have been a force for LGBT rights in SF and the NFL community . I would not be surprised to see Cullover with a different team next year, unless he does "made a bold statement of wanting to get to know the LGBT community." I also think the first out of the closet gay player will be a certain superstar on the 49ers. So let's everybody calm down. Both teams have homophobes and people trying to seek equality for the LGBT community. Ayabendejo would be an unknown if there was not already rampant homophobia in the Ravens locker room.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're going to the theatre on Sunday night. Won't miss watching the mindless game at all.

While football is one of the most physically grueling and punishing sports and, obviously, may have less then enlightened folks on the team, its likely the most strategic games in all of sports. If you think its mindless try memorizing a QB's playbook sometime.

Dismissing it out of hand as mindless while you go to the theater is just as bad as anyone else making uninformed judgements.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2013 [17 favorites]


as to ray lewis - yes, he probably has something he's guilty of, yes his money got him and all of his friends out of trouble.

He received literally the maximum sentence possible for the crime he was charged with for a first-time offender, and he had to testify against his friends, who now hate him (one of the two has said he would have killed Lewis that night if he'd known what would happen afterward). I'm not a fan of Ray Lewis, but I think people are a little quick to jump all over his shit.
posted by Etrigan at 8:53 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


[The 49ers] have been a force for LGBT rights in SF and the NFL community.

The latter, perhaps, but they are way down the list of "Forces for LGBT Rights in San Francisco."
posted by Etrigan at 8:54 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ayabendejo would be an unknown if there was not already rampant homophobia in the Ravens locker room.

Sorry but what does this mean?
posted by capnsue at 8:55 AM on February 1, 2013


Things to feel better about:

Straight Athletes who've come out in support of LGBT rights (slideshow at end of article)

Athlete Ally
posted by jb at 8:56 AM on February 1, 2013


regardless of what veritable troll Dan Savage thinks about it, the 49ers were the first NFL team to take part in the "It Get's Better" campaign, and have been a force for LGBT rights in SF and the NFL community

a) So the founder of It Gets Better has no room to comment on their contribution to It Gets Better?

b) Judging from their comments since this story broke, the people who filmed the 49ers video forgot to tell the players who appeared that it was a pro-LGBT effort, and not just anti-bullying.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:57 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


"a) So the founder of It Gets Better has no room to comment on their contribution to It Gets Better?"

I did not say that. I did say he is a veritable troll, and I stand by that assessment.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 8:59 AM on February 1, 2013


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "the people who filmed the 49ers video forgot to tell the players who appeared that it was a pro-LGBT effort, and not just anti-bullying."

These football players must be pretty culturally unaware. This campaign was pretty big news for a while there, was it not?
posted by brundlefly at 9:00 AM on February 1, 2013


the 49ers were the first NFL team to take part in the "It Get's Better" campaign, and have been a force for LGBT rights in SF and the NFL community .

Just a few years ago, they did this.
posted by drezdn at 9:05 AM on February 1, 2013


Culliver was born to a 16 year old single woman in Philadelphia. His stepfather and cousin were killed at the age of 8. He nearly died during a routine surgery at the age of 20. He grew up poor and in a rough neighborhood. That's a pretty rough ride by anyone's standards.

I agree! Now imagine the kids with that background who are gay, and think about how they must feel. I play the world's tiniest violin for a grown man who is now such a prominent figure but who is still too stupid to realize that there are things one should not say in public, even if he were still bigoted in private.

Serious question: does the NFL not make their players go through some sort of public relations training? It seems self-evident that allowing a bunch of young men, many of whom (cue swelling of tiny violins) come from underprivileged backgrounds, take questions from reporters without careful coaching about what they may and may not say is, as these stories show every time, somewhat damaging to the public perception of the sport?
posted by winna at 9:08 AM on February 1, 2013 [13 favorites]


Won't miss watching the mindless game at all.

Do tell. How is it mindless?

I suppose basketball is merely give me the ball?
posted by juiceCake at 9:09 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


From the 2009 story drezdn posted:

"Anybody who knows me, that's not a reflection of who I am. I did something for a certain audience that got out of hand. ... It was contradictory to my values and beliefs and contradictory to the team's values. I completely apologize to anybody who was offended."

Is there a neologism which translates to "cut-and-paste-apology"?
posted by bukvich at 9:11 AM on February 1, 2013


>We're going to the theatre on Sunday night. Won't miss watching the mindless game at all.

>>While football is one of the most physically grueling and punishing sports and, obviously, may have less then enlightened folks on the team, its likely the most strategic games in all of sports. If you think its mindless try memorizing a QB's playbook sometime.

Dismissing it out of hand as mindless while you go to the theater is just as bad as anyone else making uninformed judgements.


Yeah dude- I have absolutely zero interest in the game of football, but that's because it's too fucking complicated and nuanced for me to want to bother learning about it. I tried watching a game with my sporty friend once- it was like she was trying to explain chess, only with enormous men instead of pieces.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:11 AM on February 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


Serious question: does the NFL not make their players go through some sort of public relations training?

Yeah, but imagine that you're a 22-year-old who just fulfilled your lifelong dream and became a (near-)millionaire. You have to sit through a bunch of orientation crap, but mostly you're just so jazzed to be An Actual NFL Player that it's just buzzing by you. You see the same sort of problems with money, even though the NFL (and the other leagues) have conducted financial planning classes for a while now.

The big-name players receive more of it (mostly on their own, at the behest of their managers and agents), but Culliver is not at that level.
posted by Etrigan at 9:11 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm definitely going to be rooting for Ayanbadejo and Suggs to have a great game.

As for Culliver, whether or not he's sanctioned by the 49ers organization, I hope that he really does end up learning from this and growing from it. Remember Tim Hardaway? He seems to have really looked hard at himself and become a real mensch.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:12 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, when your choice is "probable murderer" and "bigot," I'm not sure there's a right choice. Except puppies, of course.

Puppy Bowl it is!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:13 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


A Bad Catholic: Well that makes it easy to choose a team to pull for.
ISWYDT.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:14 AM on February 1, 2013


...chess, only with enormous men instead of pieces.

I would watch this.
posted by griphus at 9:16 AM on February 1, 2013


Griphus, I suggest you schedule a vist to your friendly local Renaissance Faire when next it's open.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:17 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do tell. How is it mindless?

It wasn't my statement, and I don't think it's completely mindless, but I compare sports with soap operas. There are the same story lines, recycled infinitely, both with peaks and troughs in drama and intrigue. They're both fun to watch, but I can't get too caught up in either of them, knowing that the stories will spin out again next year. Oh, and the athletes are payed ungodly sums of money to be good at sports, which give so many kids the notion that if they are also good at sports, they can shun the rest of school and still make millions when the odds really aren't in their favor.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:19 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


there are more gay pro football players than gay professional ballet dancers

right, wrong or inaccurate. I don't care. Still the coolest 12 words I have encountered on mefi.
posted by notreally at 9:20 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can I clarify something vis-a-vis "role models"?

When someone says, "X should be ashamed; X is a role model!", they are NOT saying, "I look up to them as a role model for myself, and think everyone else should, too!"

They are saying, "I am aware that many people, including kids, look up to X as a role model. Someone who has chosen a profession that is idolized by so many impressionable youths has a duty to act somewhat decently. That is: no DUIs (since they can afford taxis), no starting fist fights with fans or service staff, no beating lovers, and no public advocacy of hatred and violence."

We understand, as adults, that celebrities like this asshole are only human, and may not live up to our personal "hero" standards. They just shouldn't flaunt their failings. Is that so fucking difficult?

So, yes: Chris Culliver is a role model, even if he doesn't deserve to be one. And his "apology"/PR release statement was guarded and contradictory within the same sentence, and therefore not a real apology.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


Wait, was Kwame Harris's recent assault charge (a fight that started over pouring soy sauce on rice) effectively his coming out? He wasn't out before that?
posted by purpleclover at 8:03 AM on February 1 [+][!]


Hey! I've been to the restaurant where the assault occured. Yeah - the food is terrible, and watching someone pour soy sauce over their rice is kinda infuriating from a food point of view (why do it - it tastes bad!) - but certainly not worth beating your ex-boyfriend over.
posted by helmutdog at 9:31 AM on February 1, 2013


There are the same story lines, recycled infinitely, both with peaks and troughs in drama and intrigue.

See also literature and film and the way that many humans look at a number of things.

They're both fun to watch, but I can't get too caught up in either of them, knowing that the stories will spin out again next year. Oh, and the athletes are payed ungodly sums of money to be good at sports, which give so many kids the notion that if they are also good at sports, they can shun the rest of school and still make millions when the odds really aren't in their favor.

Or, kids can see that in a certain industry, popular sports, the workers actually get paid their fare share of the revenue generated as opposed to say, working at WalMart, where the workers still don't have to be well schooled, but make far less and all the money goes to the owners and upper management. That said, I'm pretty sure kids shunning school happened well before the modern sports paradigm and the environment they live in is probably a larger factor. Sports as a factor would, I imagine, be far down the list, particularly if you're just not any good when young.
posted by juiceCake at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


My solution: Ass, meet bench. For 60 minutes.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:39 AM on February 1, 2013


I'm watching the puppy bowl. No murderers or bigots on either team.
posted by Renoroc at 9:40 AM on February 1, 2013


Is there a neologism which translates to "cut-and-paste-apology"?

Perhaps apologypasta, from copypasta?
posted by Coda at 9:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


WTF is up with this "in my heart" apology trend?

Just two days ago ...

Teacher linked to gay slurs at school
ROGERSVILLE — School district officials are investigating allegations that a Lauderdale County High School teacher made slurs in the presence of students regarding first lady Michelle Obama and gays.

... The investigation includes a 1-minute, 24-second audiotape of Grisham ...

...“Fat butt Michelle Obama,” [the school’s head football coach, Bob Grisham] said. “Look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She’s overweight.”

Male voices interject comments during the discussion, at one point referring to Michelle Obama as a “fat gorilla.”

Later in the tape, Grisham referred to the U.S. as going in the “wrong direction” and tells the students they can “get pissed off at me or not. You can go tell the principal, call the superintendent and tell her. I don’t believe in queers. I don’t like queers, I don’t hate them as a person, but what they do is wrong and an abomination against God.” The tape was reportedly recorded by a student Monday and took place on school campus during the school day.

... Grisham told the TimesDaily on Wednesday afternoon he misspoke. “I misspoke in a debate-type situation,” he said. “ I have no hatred toward anyone or any group. People that know my heart, they know that.”
Ah, and the "I misspoke" trope!

No, you didn't misspeak.
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


Poorly educated

Hey, that's kind of a dickishly broad brush to paint 'em with.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:45 AM on February 1, 2013


No murderers or bigots on either team.

Can we be sure?
posted by drezdn at 9:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know it's a spectral and all, but one could, I dunno, not watch the Superbowl and the ads or root for either team to win, and go read a nice book, or ride a bike or, hell, get piss drunk on tequila and wind up face down in the litter box. There is so much more to do then encourage the bastards.

not really sport-ist, just more and more, anti-nfl and the less drama the better.
posted by edgeways at 9:47 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


They just shouldn't flaunt their failings. Is that so fucking difficult?

Well, that standard really applies to all of us, as the trolls on the internet and their overwhelming popularity breed kids who look for the same. Most of us have kids around us (our own or someone else's) who at any given time might pick up something we say or do and idolize it.

We all have the potential to routinely be a role model to younger people whether we choose to or not, which is one of the best reasons to go around being a good person as much as you can. I think as I've aged I've grown a little more careful with what I say or do (even anonymously on the internet) for that exact reason - you don't know who's watching or listening and how much influence on them you might have.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:50 AM on February 1, 2013


No, you didn't misspeak.

Well, in the sense that he accidentally said what he really thought...
posted by en forme de poire at 9:56 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps he misthought?
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Safeway response looks like a giant blundering clusterfuck to me, honestly. Let's recap:

A young black cashier makes a snotty, bigoted remark to a middle-class gay white couple. They try to complain to management, and are repeatedly given the cold shoulder.

Someone else shows up with a cameraphone, and tries to elicit an apology from the cashier, and she delivers a smirky, half-assed response that makes it clear she sees nothing wrong with what she did, and clearly expects no backlash from her store management either.

Only after it becomes obvious that the news cycle won't let go of the story, the PR drones and lawyers wake up, and start bullying the couple, prompting them to seek representation of their own.

Safeway Corporate issues a weak apology. The gay couple responds, asking for blood. So Safeway summarily fires the cashier's po' black ass.

Outcome? NOBODY HAPPY, EVERYBODY HATING EACH OTHER.

The now-unemployed cashier resents gay people more than ever.

The other wage slaves of Safeway, facing termination, get to thinking of LGBT issues as just another instance of white privilege.

The gay couple still can't go back to their neighborhood Safeway.

Safeway, fearing litigation, will react by placing even more ham-handed restrictions on their employees. They'll probably institute a no-cameraphones-in-stores policy while they're at it.

You know, I don't believe in Jesus, but this is a perfect example of where just a little WWJD would've vastly improved the outcome for everybody.
posted by panglos at 9:58 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I don’t believe in queers. I don’t like queers, I don’t hate them as a person, but what they do is wrong and an abomination against God." The tape was reportedly recorded by a student Monday and took place on school campus during the school day.

... Grisham told the TimesDaily on Wednesday afternoon he misspoke. “I misspoke in a debate-type situation,” he said. “ I have no hatred toward anyone or any group. People that know my heart, they know that.”
Ah, and the "I misspoke" trope!

No, you didn't misspeak.


He has trouble grasping language in general. How does someone not believing in something, and at the same time finding them "an abomination against God"? If they don't exist, God can't consider them an abomination. Anyway, he clearly hates the game (Homosexuality), not the players (The Gays). So he's in the clear, right? [Kudos to the kid for recording that rant, by the way. It's hard to say "that's not what I said" when there's an audio recording of you.]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:00 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Kwame Harris was out before the domestic assault charge.
posted by Chuffy at 10:07 AM on February 1, 2013


Re: Safeway -- I mean, I'm not thrilled she was fired, but she did call them "fucking faggots," to their faces, totally unprovoked. It's not like it was some kind of little innocent slip-up or quaint misunderstanding.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:17 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


(apparently, anyway)
posted by en forme de poire at 10:19 AM on February 1, 2013


I enjoy watching sports and am a fairly athletic person, but I only root for the ball anymore.

Vote team ball, huh?

So... are you for or against players with good ball-handling skills?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:20 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


drezdn: Ravens
Pro:
Michael Oher?
posted by ob1quixote at 10:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps he misthought?

Yeah, see one of the reasons I had compassion once he apologized and called his own words "ugly" (not very PR, so I suspect a little from the heart) was that I have been interviewed or questioned in front of audiences numerous times and I have had media training and I still say things that were not what I think about the subject. If you get outside the script, interviews are like spontaneous prose and the results can sometimes be disastrous. It's why most people insist on a pre-interview.

There's a lot of pressure being recorded, not all of us are very good at it right away, and often times we make mistakes trying to come off a certain way to reporters. That is no excuse for what he said, but it lets me at least believe that his apology could be sincere and that he went way further down a road with his mouth than his heart could keep up.

Given I watch the NFL on a regular basis, I'm planning on keeping up with him to see if he makes good or changes his tone.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2013


I am entirely sure that if I went on TV and said "there are no gay people working for my company, and if there are, they gotta leave" I would be fired within eight to ten seconds for publicly embarrassing my employer and creating a hostile work environment.

Exactly. I don't subscribe to the "celebrities are role models so they should act accordingly" school of thought, but everyone is expected to keep their prejudices to themselves at work. Otherwise, any work team past a certain size just could not function. This is basic professional behavior, not role-model-worthy virtue.
posted by fatehunter at 10:29 AM on February 1, 2013


> Is there a neologism which translates to "cut-and-paste-apology"?

Perhaps apologypasta, from copypasta?


After a cup of coffee, I've reconsidered: copypology.
posted by Coda at 10:30 AM on February 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel."

This is why if I were an NFL general manager I would incorporate some kind of a contractual clause that if a player could not demonstrate an IQ of at least, oh, say 85, he would be barred from ever making a verbal or written statement while a member of my team.

And screw his money grubbung sports agent.
posted by notreally at 10:36 AM on February 1, 2013


Well, it's not like the 49ers represent one of the gayest cities in America. I'm sure there will be no repercussions.

sfgate has picked up on it. Slower than I would have thought.

I wonder how this will play out; I'm going to guess outcry will force management to take a stronger stance, while right now PR drones are trying to slink away, rubbing their paws together and foully chittering: "Gee, that went pretty well I think, thank god it's over."
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2013


inturnaround: "Well, it's not like the 49ers represent one of the gayest cities in America."

Time to talk about the elephant in the room. Is San Francisco still actually a gay mecca?
posted by schmod at 10:42 AM on February 1, 2013


Wait wait wait...WHAT? Homophobia? In the NFL?
surely you jest.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:42 AM on February 1, 2013


Seattle Seahawks punter, Jon Ryan:
If Chris Culliver isn't suspended by Goodell then I am absolutely embarrassed to be part of a league that accepts this type of behavior.
posted by ericb at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


"[I]f I hear one of you people make reference to his manhood, you'll be out of here before your ass hits the ground." -- Vince Lombardi
posted by togdon at 10:59 AM on February 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


Time to talk about the elephant in the room. Is San Francisco still actually a gay mecca?
Statistically, it's not where it once was, but that seems to be part of the more wide-spread normalization and acceptance of queerness.

The list of top cities for same-sex couples as a portion of the population does not include that traditional gay mecca, according to new census data. In fact, the city, which ranked third in 1990 and 11th in 2000, plummeted to No. 28 in 2010. And West Hollywood, once No. 1, has dropped out of the top five.

The Census Bureau data, finalized this week and analyzed by Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, gives the clearest picture to date of same-sex couples in America. In absolute numbers, they jumped by half in the past decade, to 901,997.

Most surprising is how far same-sex couples have dispersed, moving from traditional enclaves and safe havens into farther-flung areas of the country.


But culturally, and in terms of self-regard? It's hard to imagine the city tolerating homophobia and bigotry, especially for a team that purports to represent the city.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:59 AM on February 1, 2013


Former NFL quarterback, Rodney Peete:
Cullivers comments were a sign of how ignorant and uneducated people in our society still are! #tolerance and #acceptance
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]



Pro: Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee

Cons: Joe Flacco isn't that great of quarterback.


I'll give you Kaepernick being a local boy but...IMHO Flacco is a better quarterback than people give him credit for.
posted by MikeMc at 11:06 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Sports are, at their heart ridiculous."

As are many activities. Like "performance art". Is football any more ridiculous than some woman in a Brooklyn performance space talking about menstrual blood while eating pork and beans? It's entertainment, nothing more, nothing less.
posted by MikeMc at 11:13 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


The now-unemployed cashier resents gay people more than ever.

If that's the lesson she took from this, perhaps she would do well not to look for future employment in situations where she must interact with the public.

Of course, we don't know that's the lesson she took. It may be that she now knows that there are standards of respectful behavior that must be maintained in a professional environment. She may have had that horrible moment of awareness that something that just seemed cute and harmless actually really hurts people, and may regret her actions. There are a million possible reactions she might have, and I am not going to presume which one is most likely.

I do know that gay people should not refrain from standing up for themselves just because doing so may convince a homophobe that they are right to be homophobic. This is actually precisely the same argument that was going around at the time of civil rights -- that black people were becoming irritating enough to convince racists that they are right, when, if fact, they didn't need convincing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:19 AM on February 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wait wait wait...WHAT? Homophobia? In the NFL?

You know, I know it's a joke, but really, why should we have to expect professional athletes to be homophobic? (and the trend is that increasingly, we don't -- tho' still way behind where it needs to be obvi)
posted by en forme de poire at 11:23 AM on February 1, 2013


Guys, guys, it 's all okay. The US leads the way in gay rights.

No, seriously, CNN went and published that.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:28 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cons: Joe Flacco isn't that great of quarterback.

I'll give you Kaepernick being a local boy but...IMHO Flacco is a better quarterback than people give him credit for.


Anyone who picks a team to root for based on something as crass as quality is missing the point of sports. We have games to determine which is the "better" team (and, by extension, the better players) -- fandom should be based on something more visceral than that, or else you're just a bandwagoneer. I have more respect for the person who roots for the 49ers based on the number being a perfect square than for anyone who professes to cheer for the 49ers because Kaepernick is the better quarterback.
posted by Etrigan at 11:28 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is football any more ridiculous than some woman in a Brooklyn performance space talking about menstrual blood while eating pork and beans?

I prefer the term "womyn", but again, thank you so much for coming.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:28 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Removing the video doesn't make sense to me.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:43 AM on February 1, 2013


Sports are, at their heart ridiculous.

Yeah give me something serious, like a grown man sitting alone in a room making up a story about fake people for 400 pages.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:07 PM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


removing the video makes sense if some of the players involved are saying they don't endorse the core message. that video effectively becomes "it gets better unless you want to be gay on the SF 49ers, in which case we don't want your kind around here." not exactly what dan savage/it gets better is promoting.
posted by nadawi at 12:11 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


And given that one of the players featured in the video apparently thought "It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video," it's kind of lost some credibility.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:16 PM on February 1, 2013


Yeah give me something serious, like a grown man sitting alone in a room making up a story about fake people for 400 pages.

Well, it is ridiculous to write about fake people for 400 pages. Everyone knows you need at least 700 to have any depth.
posted by jb at 12:17 PM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a Steelers fan, this makes me want to watch the Super Bowl even less.

I haven't watched an NFL game all season and I'll be fucked sideways if I start this weekend. I tried to totally ignore this (newspaper front-page) news, but now I guess it's a good thing b/c I can't watch the game otherwise I'd have to root for the FUCKING RAVENS!

(My money is on the NBA, just cuz I'm a fucking contrarian. Also, the league seems to have a bit more individual personalities than the others.)

I'm rooting for the 49ers mostly because I find Ray Lewis's transformation from guy charged with murder to elder statesman of the game to be bizarre and confusing and I kind of want to see him cry.

Oh god I hate Ray Lewis. I can't root for anyone. I suppose I'll have to do the old "root for the non-fatal natural disaster that cancels the game and wastes everyone's money."
posted by mrgrimm at 12:37 PM on February 1, 2013


Removing the video doesn't make sense to me.

I dunno. Its like the 49ers just said "oh, we know we said 'it gets better' but we weren't talking about fags. we hate fags."

Would you keep the video up?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:38 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Plus, if you're cheering for the Ravens, remember you're cheering for Ray "at best, obstruction of justice to a murder" Lewis.

And an unrepentant cheater.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alright, we get it, some of you don't like sportsball.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:48 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Alright, we get it, some of you don't like sportsball.

Now admit that they're better than you because of it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:49 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I suppose I'll have to do the old "root for the non-fatal natural disaster that cancels the game and wastes everyone's money."

Oh man... you thought the shit hit the fan with the scab refs. Even as somebody who plans on watching and enjoying the game, there's a significant part of me that can't help but think of the fallout (particularly to Roger Goodell) if the Super Bowl was cancelled. And smile.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:50 PM on February 1, 2013


Oh man... you thought the shit hit the fan with the scab refs. Even as somebody who plans on watching and enjoying the game, there's a significant part of me that can't help but think of the fallout (particularly to Roger Goodell) if the Super Bowl was cancelled. And smile.

I can't really imagine any disaster that would cause the NFL to cancel the Super Bowl. They've spent most of the last few years making it abundantly clear that player safety isn't even in their top 10 priorities. Attendance and quality of play don't really matter too much for the Super Bowl, so it's really only the potential negative PR from seeming ghoulish if they carry on during a disaster that kills a significant number of people. I'm sure they've got some sort of plan to spin that as either letting the spirit of America perservere or not letting the terrorists win in the event that something does happen.

Basically the NFL is the least morally run major sports league, and their competition includes a league run by Gary Bettman and a secretive cadre of ghouls.
posted by Copronymus at 1:13 PM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Basically the NFL is the least morally run major sports league, and their competition includes a league run by Gary Bettman and a secretive cadre of ghouls.

Are there reports on this? How does it compare to soccer? F1? Cricket?
posted by juiceCake at 1:54 PM on February 1, 2013


Are there reports on this? How does it compare to soccer? F1? Cricket?


I'd be curious about that too in a purely "Topic from sports call in show debate hell that I'd actually be interested in way", but I'm starting to think this is the only report one needs:

The NFL's Response to Brain Trauma: A Brief History
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:15 PM on February 1, 2013


juiceCake: Are there reports on this? How does it compare to soccer? F1? Cricket?
I can't speak to any of the others, but Formula 1? Whew…

There's the F1 Spygate scandal, for which McLaren were excluded from the 2007 constructor's championship and received a record $100 million fine. There's the Ecclestone bribery scandal, which threatens to topple him as F1's supremo. Then there's the crème de la crème, then FIA president Max Mosely's 'Nazi' Spanking Sex Scandal. Though it was later revealed that, while the dominatrix were portraying Germans, they were not specifically Nazis, and resent being characterized as such.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:27 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, F1, FIFA, and the IOC (just to name a few prominent examples) are all bloodsucking monsters who seemingly exist only to throw parties for the wealthy aristocrats who make up their leadership and Sepp Blatter is an immense international embarassment on every conceivable level. That said, they don't seem to be actively trying to cripple their own players (or at least they do it with less obvious relish). They also haven't locked out their players with goals such as continuing to be able to unilaterally tear up existing contracts whenever it's convenient and refusing to adequately fund pensions and medical care for a generation of retired players they'd left with horrific mental and physical injuries.

They're all pretty evil, but the NFL is really something else.
posted by Copronymus at 2:50 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obviously there's no gay football players. They just smack each other on the ass in a strongly heterosexual way.

Watching Lincoln hold hands with his secretary of state in Spielberg's movie made me sad to live in a time where the slightest physical contact between men is sexualized.
posted by straight at 3:28 PM on February 1, 2013


What if Butt Slaps On Field slaps on field was an officially tracked stat?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:46 PM on February 1, 2013


Why should a players personal beliefs get him suspended?

He's entitled to believe whatever he wants, but what he says as a representative of the team is presumably in his contract, and in some places, that kind of vilification is actually against the law, too.

People are entitled to believe what they want; they are not entitled to spout their bullshit off publicly, more often than not.
posted by smoke at 4:13 PM on February 1, 2013


It was a forthright apology, but I am a little tired of people behaving as though somehow the thing they said isn't actually who they are in their hearts. Yes it is. It is part of who you are.

WTF is up with this "in my heart" apology trend?

I’ve been on this rant for a long time, but I DON’T CARE WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART. The reason people are using this as a excuse is because it has become the fabric of how we judge people. We’re not supposed to judge people on how they act, or how they present themselves, but who they "really are inside". I really don’t fucking care who you are inside, I only care about how you act and interact with society.

I would much rather the world be full of child molesters and murderers "in their hearts" who never act on it than criminals who "are really good people inside". The guy that shot an innocent man who had gotten lost and accidentally pulled into the wrong driveway the other day in Atlanta? Lots of testimonials about what a good person he "really is". No, you’re by definition not a good person if you viciously shoot innocent people.

Some football player made a bigoted remark? Punish him, make him apologize. I don’t care whether he believes or not. I don’t care if he hates gay people with a blinding passion as long as he keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t act on it.
posted by bongo_x at 4:25 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Room 641-A: Amare Stoudemire has been fined $50,000 by the NBA after the New York Knicks star tweeted a gay slur.

Step up, NFL.


Even better: The NBA has fined three players in the last few years for using homophobic slurs, including Kobe Bryant, one of the legends of the game. Commissioner David Stern's not mucking around on this issue.

(Kobe was fined $100,000 for saying a homophobic slur to a ref. Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for saying a homophic slur to a fan.)

There's been some other steps forward, too. The Golden State Warriors have had LGBT Nights. Rick Welts, the President and CEO of the Phoenix Suns, came out in 2011 to largely positive response. Since then, he's left the Suns and taken on the role of President and COO of the Warriors. And John Amaechi, the first (and I think only?) former NBA player to come out, is an Olympic commentator with the BBC and heavily involved in the launch of the new British Basketball Association.

It feels like the time is rapidly approaching when an NBA player could come out.
posted by Georgina at 4:29 PM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks for bringing that up, Georgina. My comment was a bit lazy I'm really glad you expanded on it.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:41 PM on February 1, 2013


Oh! And I forgot this charming video by Kenneth Faried supporting marriage equality in Colorado. "Nobody can ever tell me I can't have two mothers, because I really do."
posted by Georgina at 4:42 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a good thing there are no homophobes on the Ravens. Go Baltimore!

But seriously, there are going to be backward rubes on every sports team. You probably work with some backward rubes yourself, don't you? So while it's fair to take Culliver to task for his idiocy, it doesn't make sense to extrapolate that into "FUCK THE NINERS" since no team in the NFL is going to have clean hands.

For every Culliver there's a Gore and a Crabtree (both of whom have publicly denounced Culliver's statements). And for every Ayanbadejo there's a Birk.

Pick your favored Super Bowl team any way you want, but using the ill-informed political opinions of some essentially randomly chosen players on one team or another doesn't make much sense.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:00 PM on February 1, 2013


Matt Birk is a Harvard grad with a degree in economics. His attitudes are backwards, certainly, but he lacks any excuse of being a rube.
posted by gladly at 5:08 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


You write what he wrote you're a rube in my book. Degrees don't impress me.

Also, that's not really the point.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:21 PM on February 1, 2013


I think calling someone like Birk a rube makes him seem harmless when he's far from it. He's the Rick Santorum of the NFL, and the league loves him. Birk is the kind of NFL player who runs for office eventually. He's a lot scarier to me than someone like Culliver, who I do think it's possible could examine his prejudices and rethink them.
posted by gladly at 6:20 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's a fair point and one I hadn't considered. But I think we're using "rube" differently. At least sort of.

I'd call Santorum a backwards rube too. They're both just parroting the talking points, not writing them. That's what makes them rubes.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 6:53 PM on February 1, 2013


Santorum is not a rube. He is a smart guy and a succesfull politician who somehow manged to resurrect some political viability in a Presidential primary out of nowhere after being devastatingly defeated as a Senatorial incumbent and being a major target of mockery. He is a smart and talented true believer of some very evil views, not a rube.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:59 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never heard of this Matt Birk character before yesterday. Today I was googling something else and found this which I have no doubt the NFL would prefer to undo now that he is out in public as a gay marriage opponent, although he was out in public as a pro-life advocate when they gave him the award.
posted by bukvich at 9:46 AM on February 2, 2013


Technically, a "rube" is a country bumpkin, unsophisticated in the ways of the "Big City". The kind who thinks the 3-card Monty table isn't rigged. There's a certain flavor of naiveté associated with the word.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:52 AM on February 2, 2013


Cornerback Chris Culliver will work with “The Trevor Project” in the weeks after the Super Bowl to learn more about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:07 PM on February 2, 2013


'It's a New World': The Super Bowl Becomes a Platform for LGBT Equality
As for the Ravens, they are the team of linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is part of a new wave of outspoken athletes for LGBT rights. Ayanbadejo aided the successful referendum for marriage equality in the state of Maryland in November while braving disagreements from teammates, criticism on sports radio and even a Maryland state delegate requesting that team chief executive Steve Biscotti “take the necessary action, as a National Football League owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees.” But the Ravens took no such action and Ayanbadejo hasn’t stopped expressing himself, and won’t stop this coming week.
Is it Getting Better? Homophobia Rocks Super Bowl
When Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo said he hoped this year’s Super Bowl would be a platform to discuss LGBT rights, I don't think this is exactly what he had in mind. First on media day, San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver was asked by Howard Stern acolyte and living symbol of American declinism Artie Lange if he’d ever accept a Gay teammate. Culliver said, “No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can’t be…in the locker room man. Nah.” In rapid-response fashion, Culliver then issued the finest, most heartfelt apology a 49er public relations intern ever had to write.

Then two 49ers, Ahmad Brooks and Isaac Sopoaga, denied ever appearing in the team’s much praised anti-LGBT bullying “It Gets Better” Public Service Announcement, despite video evidence to the contrary. Sopoaga said, "I never went, And now someone is using my name." This pushed “It Gets Better” founder Dan Savage to actually remove the video from their website. After tweeting that the 49er PSA was being taken down, Savage used three hashtags: #homophobia #NFL #horseshit.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:40 AM on February 3, 2013


So while it's fair to take Culliver to task for his idiocy, it doesn't make sense to extrapolate that into "FUCK THE NINERS" since no team in the NFL is going to have clean hands.

Yeah obviously homophobes abound, but (and correct me if I'm wrong) the 49ers also don't seem to have anyone who is nearly as active a proponent of LGBT rights as Ayanbadejo seems to be. I think that takes a lot more guts than passive tolerance or a mild-call out of a teammate after they were clearly in hot public-relations water. And to my mind that also outweighs at least a few Matt Birks.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:26 PM on February 3, 2013


Ayanbadejo returns a Super Bowl winner, Culliver goes home with a bitter loss.

As a American Football neutral, I can't say I'm disappointed with the karma here.
posted by jaduncan at 9:57 PM on February 3, 2013


I watched the whole Super Bowl and never once heard anything about gay rights and anti-gay behavior. Did I miss anything? They did talk about Ray Lewis's alleged murder a bit, mostly in the context of "his team supports him". But nothing at all about the stupidity / bigotry of a few of the SF players.
posted by Nelson at 7:50 AM on February 4, 2013


I watched the whole Super Bowl and never once heard anything about gay rights and anti-gay behavior. Did I miss anything?

I didn't hear anything either, and if anyone had said, "Culliver got smoked twice on that touchdown -- makes you wonder whether he was concerned the receiver was going to get teh ghey on him," that commentator would have immediately become the Greatest Human Being of 2013 So Far.
posted by Etrigan at 8:08 AM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Etrigan, I was thinking the EXACT same thing on that late first-half touchdown where the receiver fell and no one touched him, then got up, did a little juke, and Culliver didn't touch him again. Oh, what a softball opportunity!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:20 AM on February 5, 2013


Didn't watch (took a nap to avoid hearing the neighbors screaming), but apparently Jim Nantz was the play-by-play guy. I'm sure CBS told him to not comment about the controversy, but a guy like Al Michaels probably would've taken the initiative.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:05 PM on February 5, 2013


Another classy football player.

Sure would be nice to see many more players speak out against these bigots and haters. Chris Kluwe is only one I'm aware of who is arguing strongly against them.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 PM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


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