Washington, D.C. - (Jan. 31, 2013) — Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe today refuted comments by San Francisco 49ers' cornerback Chris Culliver about whether gay athletes are welcome in the NFL.
Kluwe, who will be honored by Family Equality Council next week in Los Angeles for his vocal advocacy on behalf of LGBT people, criticized Culliver for sending the wrong message to millions of young fans and aspiring athletes.
"While he's certainly entitled to speak his mind, Culliver is a role model whether he likes it or not," said Kluwe. "There are kids all over the United States who aspire to be right where he is and he has an obligation to consider the effect of his words. Kids are listening."
Chris Culliver joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and faces a Super Bowl match up on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, featuring linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who recently came out in support of marriage equality and anti-bullying advocacy.
Culliver today reacted to the controversy by saying he was, "Just kidding around."
Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler said Kluwe's honest advocacy is the reason the organization has chosen to honor him Feb. 9th at their annual Los Angeles Awards Dinner.
"Chris Kluwe embodies the positive values that I hope my own sons and kids across the country embrace in their own sports leagues and clubs," said Chrisler. "His words have not only encouraged LGBT people, but also the children of LGBT parents who want to feel their heroes support their families. Recently, we have seen other courageous athletes like NBA Nuggets Star Kenneth Faried and Baltimore Ravens' Brendon Ayanbadejo speak up on behalf of their families, friends and neighbors. This is the type of dialogue we should be having as the NFL prepares to take center stage this weekend for the Super Bowl."
Family Equality Council, the national organization that connects, supports, and represents the one million families in the U.S. with parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) will honor notables in the world of arts, entertainment, politics, and the LGBT movement next week at their annual Los Angeles Awards Dinner.
Other honorees will include NBC for its consistent & positive representation of parents who are LGBT in prime time television. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt will accept the award and presenters will include Sean Hayes, former star of NBC's long-running hit Will & Grace, and Andrew Rannells of NBC's new hit show The New Normal.