“It Gets Better” pulls 49ers’ PSA after players deny their involvement

With friends like the San Francisco 49ers, Dan Savage's project for bullied teens needs no enemies

Topics: super bowl 2013, Baltimore Ravens, 49ers, San Francisco 49ers, Football, NFL, It Gets Better, Dan Savage, LGBT, Bullying, anti-gay bullying, athlete ally, chris culliver,

"It Gets Better" pulls 49ers' PSA after players deny their involvement (Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Dan Savage has pulled the San Francisco 49ers’ “It Gets Better” video from the site that serves as a resource for bullied teens after two of the players involved disavowed the video, in yet another instance of Sunday’s Super Bowl serving as a flash point in the ongoing debate over gay rights.

After the Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo came out as an advocate for gay rights, and the 49ers’ Chris Culliver said he would never play with a gay teammate, it became clear that the Ravens vs. 49ers matchup on Super Bowl Sunday had brought to football some of the debate that had swirled for years around the corporate world and the military. The 49ers’ video, intended, like all “It Gets Better” videos, to inspire bullied gay teens, was treated as though it had never happened by linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, indicating that even some purported allies are not interested in the debate at all.

Asked by a USA Today reporter about the 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.” He later indicated, “It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay video.” Sopoaga flatly denied involvement in the video and refused to comment after being shown it.

“It Gets Better” videos are so hip — those speaking to gay teens have included allies from Ke$ha to Hillary Clinton — that they’ve become de rigueur even for those who may not be supporters of the rights of gay men and lesbians, or just may not be interested. (In the USA Today story, an “It Gets Better” representative notes that the team “picked the most intimidating guys to deliver the message” — it had been all about image for the 49ers.)

The situation, which “It Gets Better” founder Savage called “horseshit” on Twitter, “shows how courageous athlete allies are,” said Brian Ellner, a marriage equality advocate and one of Ayanbadejo’s advisers.



“Unfortunately, the reaction of the 49er players sends the message that gay and lesbian teens are not welcome in sports,” said Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor via email, citing Ayanbadejo and others as those who would undertake “the work that needs to be done.”

There’s encouragement for young gay athletes in today’s news, too: Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens indicated that a gay man would be welcome in the locker room. “We wouldn’t have a problem with it,” he said. “We don’t care … Who cares? Whatever a person’s choice is, it’s their choice.” There are nits gay-rights advocates might choose to pick — the idea of “choice,” for instance. However, as gays gain wider acceptance, it’s clear that not caring about your teammates’ sexual orientation is, likely, a road of far less resistance than stonewalling a reporter who suggested you might be a gay ally.

Daniel D'Addario is a staff reporter for Salon's entertainment section. Follow him on Twitter @DPD_

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>