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Niners CB says openly gay players would not be welcomed on the team

Martin Rogers
Yahoo Sports

NEW ORLEANS – San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver has made inflammatory comments regarding homosexuality in football just a few days before Super Bowl XLVII.

Shock jock Artie Lange revealed he had interviewed Culliver at media day Tuesday and aired a segment on his show that night, where the player insisted that any gay players would not be welcome on the team.

"I don't do the gay guys man," said Culliver, whose Niners play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. "I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.

"Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can't be…in the locker room man. Nah."

When quizzed by Lange whether any homosexual athletes would need to keep their sexuality a secret in football, Culliver responded: "Yeah, come out 10 years later after that."

You can listen to the interview here:

The 49ers released a statement Wednesday in response to Culliver's remarks:

"The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made [Tuesday], and have addressed the matter with Chris. There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community."

Culliver issued his own apology on Wednesday.

"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel," Culliver said in a statement. "It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience."

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.

The Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax saga was believed by many to be a ruse designed to hide his homosexuality, a claim that was vehemently denied by the former Notre Dame defensive star.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been an outspoken supporter of gay rights, using the profile of Super Bowl week to bring the issue further into the spotlight.

[Related: Ray Lewis agitated over link to PED during Super Bowl week]

And Monday, a report surfaced that former NFL player Kwame Harris had been charged with assaulting a former boyfriend.

"You always think because of the odds and the numbers there are gay players in the NFL," former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis told Huffington Post Live. "They haven't obviously come out and told anyone about it not even behind the scenes.

"Obviously there will be people who disagree and people who don't have a problem with it, but that will be in life as well. I don't think it is going to affect someone's play.

"Because it is so testosterone driven, it'd be really difficult for a gay player to stand up and say, 'Hey, I'm gay and I'm an NFL player.' "

Culliver, 24, did little to improve his own reputation on Wednesday, sending out a Tweet about a woman's monthly cycle.

Culliver, who started six games for the Niners in the regular season, recorded 48 tackles and two interceptions.

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