NEW ORLEANS (CBS SF) – The organization that partnered with the San Francisco 49ers to create a widely touted anti-bullying video in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, pulled the video Thursday night after two players who appeared in it publicly denied their involvement.
The It Gets Better Project said it removed the 49ers video from its website, itgetsbetter.org.
The bizarre saga began when 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga were questioned by reporters about their participation in the video made last August for the “It Gets Better” project, following an uproar over teammate Chris Culliver’s homophobic remarks this week on gay players. Safety Donte Whitner and defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois also appeared in the video.
Brooks and Sopoaga first denied appearing in the video, until reporters showed them the clip. Then, the players claimed they didn’t realize the point of the video was to fight bullying against LGBT youth.
“I didn’t make any video,” Brooks initially told the newspaper USA Today. “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 a reporter showed him the video on his cellphone, Brooks replied, “Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay video.”
Sopoaga told USA Today that he did not remember the participating in the video, even as another teammate tried to jog his memory. He then had no comment after the reporter showed him that it was a video to fight the bullying of teens because of sexual identity,
In the video, it is Whitner who says, “The San Francisco 49ers is proud to join ItGetsBetter.org to let all LGBT teens know: It gets better.”
The 49ers were the first National Football League team to join the online movement created in 2010 in response to a rash of suicides among LGBT teenagers who had been bullied.
In 2011, the San Francisco Giants were the first Major League Baseball team to participate in the movement and produce an anti-LGBT bullying video.
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