Several members of the San Francisco 49ers recently appeared in an “It Gets Better” video, aimed at encouraging teens who are victims of bullying, specifically the LGBT community, that, well, it gets better. It’s a good cause which we otherwise wouldn’t be examining, if not for Chris Culliver’s recent comments and the odd answers Ahmad Brooks and Isaac Sopoaga gave to questions about Culliver’s comments and their appearance in the PSA.
The thing is, when reporters asked Brooks and Sopoaga to talk about their appearance in the video in the wake of Culliver’s comments, they shied away and admitted to having little knowledge of what the video was about:
“I didn’t make any video,” Brooks said. “This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay. It’s their right. But I didn’t make any video.”
Well that’s odd. Clearly, you did make a video. Actually, you and your teammates were praised for it. You utilized your standing as a professional athlete and took a stand for a good cause. If the whole, “If someone wants to be gay, they can be gay” thing is how you truly feel, then why should you have any issue simply saying you were in this video, when clearly you were in this video. You don’t remember? This video:
“Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video,” he said.
Actually, it was both. Don’t know if you’ve been to It Gets Better’s website recently or checked out their mission statement:
The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.
Or listen to your teammate Donte Whitner when he said “LGBT” in the video?
When USA Today’s Kevin Manahan followed up with the point that (even if Brooks was actually blind and deaf to the fact that It Gets Better is aimed at the LGBT community) studies highlight how prevalent teenage bullying over sexual identity is, Brooks got weirdly defensive:
“I know that. I know that,” he said. “Okay, you’re right and I’m wrong. Are you from one of those New York newspapers?”
As for Sopoaga, he just forgot he was in the video — which was filmed during training camp — altogether. When he was reminded of it and the fact that it was to prevent bullying on grounds of sexual orientation, he responded with a cool, “Yeah. OK.” An It Gets Better rep said plenty of 49ers volunteered to be in the video, but the team picked the most intimidating players to be in it. They didn’t count on Culliver’s comments, but that still doesn’t seem like the best grounds to pick that sort of thing.
[USA Today via BuzzFeed]