As the controversy over their teammate's offensive comments about gay players in the locker room still brews, two members of the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers are stirring the pot by denying they ever participated in a gay-rights video — or that it was ever a gay-rights video at all. Dan Savage, the creator of the "It Gets Better" project, a series of PSAs that often feature celebrities encouraging LGBT teenagers, removed the team's video — the first time one has been removed — and not because of what Chris Culliver said the other day but because his teammates, star linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, said something offensive now, too.
Savage, the outspoken writer and gay-rights advocate, is not too happy:
The reason Savage pulled the PSA — which in August became the first in the series from an NFL team — stems from Brooks and Sopoaga's reactions to the anti-gay comments this week from Culliver, which had actually led to some positive dialogue until Thursday, when USA Today asked them how they felt about appearing in the gay-rights video in light of the Culliver scandal. To which the two denied ever taking part in a gay-rights video:
"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."
When told USA TODAY Sports had seen the video and he was in it, Brooks replied, "I don't remember that. I think if I made a video, I'd remember it."
He was shown the video on an iPhone.
"Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video," he said.
The team's non-denial denial didn't stop there, as USA Today's Kevin Manahan reports:
Sopoaga, too, denied making the video, even while teammate Will Tukuafu, who overheard the question, tried to refresh his memory.
"Yeah, you made that video, remember?" Tukuafu said.
"No," Sopoaga said. "I never went. And now someone is using my name."
As you can see, both Brooks and Sopoaga do, in fact, appear in the now deleted "It Gets Better" video:
Brooks is sort of right, in that the "It Gets Better" project is in part about anti-bullying. But the series clearly focuses on encouragement for LGBT teens. It says so right on its website:
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.
The 49ers do realize they play in San Francisco, right?