Sean Chapin convinced the San Francisco 49ers become the first NFL team to produce an “It Gets Better” video. Now he’s demanding to know why two players denied taking part.
Chapin, a San Francisco–based gay rights activist, created a petition on Change.org last year that garnered 16,000 signatures from supporters to “help confront homophobia.” It featured four players, including linebacker Ahmad Brooks and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga—both of whom distanced themselves from appearing in the video.
“Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video,” said Brooks to a USA Today reporter prior to the Super Bowl. Reporters’ questions about the video were prompted by their teammate Chris Culliver’s inflammatory and homophobic comments.
On comedian Artie Lange’s radio show Jan. 29, Culliver said gay men weren’t welcome on the team. “We ain’t got no gay people,” Culliver said to Lange. “They gotta get up out here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. … Nah, can’t be … in the locker room, man.”
It Gets Better creator Dan Savage pulled the 49ers’ video. Chapin then released a statement on YouTube demanding the 49ers address the issue.
“The last couple of days and what has happened has been very hard as a gay man and a 49ers fan,” confessed Chapin in an eight-minute video. He called Sopoaga’s and Brooks’s comments “confusing, disheartening, and just really frustrated me.”
Chapin criticized the 49ers organization for releasing the video on Facebook initially, arguing that it wouldn’t have the visibility of a YouTube release.
“I think the way the 49ers handled this at this point is they have to do the right thing,” demanded Chapin, who notes the team hasn’t officially responded to the flap. “They’re sending the wrong message to LGBT kids.”
Photo via SeanChapin1/YouTube