Cornerback Chris Culliver, who last month vowed to learn more about the gay and lesbian community after his well-publicized comments about gays in the locker room at the Super Bowl, began making good on that promise today.
Culliver spent the day at the Los Angeles office of The Trevor Project, which provides crisis and suicide intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths. Culliver's public relations representative, Theodore Palmer, said that Culliver, 24, met Sunday with the group's executive director. He also paid to have the organization's national education trainer fly in from New York for Monday's session.
"He wants to use his profile as a professional athlete to help," Palmer said. "He wants to become a volunteer for the organization and become more active. He really learned a lot today."
Culliver was being interviewed by comedian Arte Lange five days before the Super Bowl when Lange asked him about gay players in the locker room. "No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do," the cornerback responded. "Can't be with that sweet stuff."
The comments were widely circulated and criticized, and Culliver immediately issued an apology and promised to educate himself on the issues involving LGBTQ youth. A contingent from the 49ers, including vice president of football affairs Keena Turner and public relations director Bob Lange, also met with representatives from The Trevor Project today.
Trevor Project spokeswoman Laura McGinnis said that if Culliver follows through on becoming a volunteer, there are several things he could do, including becoming a crisis intervention volunteer or working with programs directed at young people, ages 13-24. McGinnis said there was no reason to suspect that Culliver wasn't sincere in his desire to understand and help at-risk youth.
"Chris is a young guy himself," she said. "He reached out to The Trevor Project. And that's a good thing."
-- Matt Barrows