Memo to Chris Culliver: There Are Probably Gay Men on Your Team, Get Over It

In America, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

In that spirit, San Francisco 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver is quite entitled to the ignorant, bigoted statements he made to radio shock-jock Artie Lange this past Tuesday.

Of course Mr. Culliver will have to come to terms with the fact that many other people are now well within their rights to express their opinions regarding his statements.

It was awfully nice of Culliver to express the sentiments of the other 52 active players on the roster of the San Francisco 49ers.

After all, Culliver said that gay people would not be welcome on the team.

"No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do."

This is quite a statement. I'm quite certain that Culliver does know a lot more about the players in his own locker room than I do. That doesn't mean they all share his narrow minded viewpoints though.

Adding to the levels of ignorance regarding this statement is that the odds are fairly high that there already is someone who is gay in the locker room. At the very least Culliver has probably suited up next to another gay player at some point in either his professional or college football career.

There is not, nor has there ever been an active "out" homosexual in the NFL or in any other major professional men's sport in this Nation.

Yet the numbers suggest that there probably are plenty of homosexuals in sports right now.

Charles Barkley who spent a total of 19 seasons playing both college and NBA basketball told the Washington Post in 2011 that he had no doubt he had played with gay teammates over the years.

First of all, every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: 'Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.' First of all, quit telling me what I think. I'd rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can't play.

Culliver has only played in the NFL for two seasons, and he played three seasons in college at South Carolina. Football rosters have a lot more players on them than basketball rosters do.

A poll taken by Gallup in October of 2012 suggest that approximately 3.4 percent of the U.S. population identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. That's about one out of every 33 people.

In all likelihood Culliver has already played alongside a homosexual teammate. He might even be suiting up with one this Sunday, when his 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens in The Super Bowl.

One has to wonder if Culliver is sorry for his statements, or for the outrage that they provoked?

This country is no longer in an era where professional sports are afraid of addressing homosexuality and homophobia.

The August 2011 issue of Men's Journal detailed how the culture surrounding homosexuality in professional sports in America was changing.

That culture hasn't been completely embraced by the San Francisco 49ers.

Thursday linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga denied participation in the 49ers "It Gets Better" video which was produced to help combat bullying of gay, lesbian and transgender youths.

Culliver's apology is nice, but what he and his other homophobic teammates really need to do is wake-up.

There is nothing admirable about being ignorant, fearful and bigoted. Maybe if Culliver is that concerned with being in the locker room with a gay teammate he should find another profession?