NFL player Chris Culliver to undergo sensitivity training for homophobic comments

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San Francisco 49ers player, Chris Culliver, who earlier this week said there were no gay players on the team, and if there were, they wouldn’t be welcome, is to begin sensitivity training following this weekend’s Super Bowl.

Culliver is to begin the sensitivity training and education and then begin volunteer work with at-risk gay youths nationwide, the Associated Press reports.

Earlier this week, Chris Culliver, who is set to play for the San Francisco 49ers in this weekend’s Super Bowl said in an interview that he didn’t think there were any gay players on his team, and that they wouldn’t be welcome if there were.

Mr Culliver since apologised, and said his comments were “hurtful and ugly”, and said they didn’t reflect his true feelings on the issue.

“[I was] really just not thinking. [It was] something that I thought. Definitely nothing that I felt in my heart,” Culliver said.

The cornerback is to start working with the Trevor Project, a US LGBT suicide prevention organisation, said public relations rep, Theodore Palmer.

Palmer said that Culliver would spend time at a crisis centre in San Francisco. 

Openly gay former 49ers player, Kwame Harris, also spoke out about the comments made by Culliver prior to his apology being issued.

Mr Harris told NBC: ”It’s surprising that in 2013 Chris Culliver would use his 15 minutes to spread vitriol and hate. I recognize that these are comments that he may come to regret and that he may come to see that gay people are not so different than straight people.”

Earlier this week, Mr Harris was charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges involving a former boyfriend.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said the comments were not acceptable.

“We reject what he said. That’s not something that reflects the way the organization feels, the way most of the players feel,” Harbaugh said.

A statement from Mr Culliver’s team condemned his comments: “The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, 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.”

Brendon Ayanbadejo, of the Baltimore Ravens, said he hoped that Culliver’s comments would open a positive dialogue about gay players in the NFL.

Brendon Ayanbadejo was previously involved in a controversy because he was criticised by a state delegate for speaking in favour of equal marriage.

In November, upon waking to find that Maryland voters had chosen to legalise equal marriage in the state, Ayanbadejo said it was “like Christmas”.

The Super Bowl will take place in the US on 3 February 2013.