49ers' Chris Culliver to undergo sensitivity training after anti-gay remarks
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver answers questions in New Orleans on Jan. 31, 2013. (AP / Mark Humphrey)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, February 2, 2013 2:11PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 2, 2013 5:23PM EST
NEW ORLEANS -- San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver will begin sensitivity training and education immediately after the Super Bowl following his anti-gay remarks this week, then likely start volunteer work with at-risk homosexual youth nationwide.
Culliver is scheduled to begin working with "The Trevor Project," an organization that provides crisis and suicide intervention to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, according to his public relations representative, Theodore Palmer.
"He's so passionate about youth and people being comfortable with who they are and accepted by all," Palmer said in a phone interview Saturday. "He's excited to learn. The plan is with The Trevor Project, and their concerns are that he is genuine about his words."
Palmer said once the education process is done, Culliver could eventually spend time volunteering at a crisis centre and in other formats.
"It's just an opportunity for him to learn about his comments and educate himself about the LGBT community, and grow," Palmer said. "It's the first step in learning about his words."
During Tuesday's Super Bowl media day at the Superdome, the second-year defender responded to questions from comedian Artie Lange by saying he wouldn't welcome a gay player in the locker room. He also said the 49ers didn't have any homosexual players and, if they did, those players should leave. He later apologized, facing a large group of media members for nearly an hour Thursday.
He realizes some will still question his sincerity.
"I hope people understand because it's coming directly from me and I'm talking to the whole world," Culliver said. "It is not (how I feel) in my heart."
The 49ers -- who play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday -- released a statement saying they rejected Culliver's comments, and CEO Jed York vowed to take a leadership role with the LGBT community and groups back home in the Bay Area -- including taking Culliver around himself, he said.
The interview Tuesday began with Lange asking Culliver about his sexual plans with women during Super Bowl week. Lange followed up with a question about whether Culliver would consider pursuing a gay man.
"I don't do the gay guys, man. I don't do that," Culliver said during the 1-minute taped interview. "Ain't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff."
Lange asked Culliver to reiterate his thoughts, to which the player said, "It's true." He added he wouldn't welcome a gay teammate -- no matter how talented.
"Nah. Can't be ... in the locker room, nah," he said. "You've gotta come out 10 years later after that."
When the interview became big news Wednesday, Culliver said he met for more than an hour with general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh, and also spoke with teammates like veteran safety Donte Whitner -- who has a gay family member and has been outspoken in his support for the community.
"You've got to be very careful what you say," Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice said of Super Bowl week. "I'm sure he regrets making those remarks."
The 24-year-old Culliver, a third-round draft pick in 2011 out of South Carolina, made 47 tackles with two interceptions and a forced fumble this season while starting six games for the NFC champion Niners.
He had his first career post-season interception in San Francisco's 28-24 win at Atlanta for the NFC title.