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Two 49ers say they didn’t participate in “It Gets Better” video

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

In August, the 49ers became the first NFL team to participate in the “It Gets Better” project, which addresses online videos to gay youths to reassure them that their lives will get better in adulthood. But now two of the four players who appeared in the video say they didn’t know what they were signing on for.

San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga both told USA Today that they had nothing to do with the It Gets Better project.

I didn’t make any 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.”

When Brooks was then shown the video, he said he remembered making it but it had nothing to do with gay youth.

“Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video,” he said.

Sopoaga also said he didn’t have any recollection of participating in a video aimed at gay youth.

“No,” Sopoaga said. “I never went. And now someone is using my name.”

The video shows Brooks, Sopoaga, Ricky Jean-Francois and Donte Whitner encouraging young people, but only Whitner alludes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. It’s possible that the other players didn’t fully understand what they were being asked to get involved in.

Dan Savage, the writer who started the It Gets Better project after a spate of suicides of gay young people who had been bullied in school, said on Twitter that he would remove the 49ers video from the It Gets Better project.

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38 Responses to “Two 49ers say they didn’t participate in “It Gets Better” video”
  1. fanofevilempire says: Feb 1, 2013 10:06 AM

    Yeah, the NFL and other American sports is ready for gay players to come out and share a locker. This is going to end up in one big mess.
    Ed Reed was right, reporters are setting the players up with these questions and god forbid they have a different view of the politically correct.

    oh boy!

  2. mrbgood315 says: Feb 1, 2013 10:08 AM

    Cause that would totally be the WORST thing ever if they did??? Can the Super Bowl just get here already…

  3. mullman76 says: Feb 1, 2013 10:15 AM

    Enough already.

    I call for a media blackout until kickoff- this is getting ridiculous. There has to something of merit going on without having to push this agenda.

    Is is because San Francisco is in the SB?

    Can we just report on football please? Pretty, please.

  4. bullcharger says: Feb 1, 2013 10:18 AM

    There is no possible way they didn’t know what it was about.

    a) Whitner obviously knew, and would have told them or discussed it with them.

    b) There would have been something in what ever agreement they signed to do the video.

    c) who would represent an organization without even going to their website to see what it was about?

    d) Their agent would have at least looked at it.

    These guys knew and gladly participated and now they are afraid to be associated with it. It’s a shame.

  5. wayne1693 says: Feb 1, 2013 10:19 AM

    Let’s get real: 99% of Football Fans on any level of interest who are paying attention this week…couldn’t care less what a player thinks about Gay Rights. And truth be told, as has been reported this week by very experienced sports journalists: 90% of the men’s professional team sports players in the USA don’t want a Gay guy in their locker room. SuperBowl week is simply not the right venue nor audience for this issue!

  6. beerbaron says: Feb 1, 2013 10:38 AM

    The only football players with brains are quarterbacks and offensive linemen.

  7. wtfchiefs says: Feb 1, 2013 10:56 AM

    Can we get relevant football information please

  8. granadafan says: Feb 1, 2013 11:06 AM

    Football players who are young and very likely from small rural towns in the south are likely to be ignorant and naive about gays and rights as human beings. They’ve been exposed to bigotry their whole lives in these religious and conservative towns. I wouldn’t beat these players up too much over some comments. The more they are exposed to life beyond their protected lives, the more they’ll realize that bigotry and discrimination are wrong.

  9. RavenzGunnerz says: Feb 1, 2013 11:10 AM

    People should choose to love who they wish to love. But I don’t like when gay rights activists stoop too low like this. Oh… everybody must support us.

    Leave these players alone. If they don’t like gay players, hey this is America. Has it occurred to you that they are also entitled to these views?

  10. commonsensedude says: Feb 1, 2013 11:17 AM

    Why are we still talking about this?

  11. 1historian says: Feb 1, 2013 11:23 AM

    I bring good tidings.

    This week – The last week before the super (duper pooper) bowl is the week in which THE standard for abysmally bad sports ‘journalism’ (?) is set for the next 51 weeks.

    Divisions are 1) made up stories 2) politically correct stories 3) whatever stories

    (The Manti Te’o stories are all in the fantasy/hoax/farce/absurd category. This came about when that dude with the long name who started it all [and is in love with Manti Te'o] talked to dr. phil and more than one person tuned in)

    So – Just be patient and it will be over soon. (There will be a few late entries Monday Tuesday and Wednesday of next week but then it will be fine.)

    The winners will be announced ……..

  12. beerbaron says: Feb 1, 2013 11:41 AM

    It’s one thing to be entitled to have different views on political issues, but respecting gay rights is just basic human decency. People don’t “choose to love who they wish to love” any more than they choose to be born a certain height. If you don’t think gays have a right to play in the NFL or do anything else a straight person can, you’re no better than racists who thought we should have separate drinking fountains.

  13. jeremycrowhurst says: Feb 1, 2013 12:04 PM

    Brooks and Sopoaga deserve any and all heat that they get over this.

    Can you imagine a player participating in a United Way ad, then later saying, “Hey, wait, I didn’t know the United Way is in favor of X and Y, I never agreed to that.”

    You did a good thing. Turns out it was by accident. Now you’re turning it to a bad thing? Classless jerks.

  14. goldrush4949 says: Feb 1, 2013 12:09 PM

    Such a non-story. Enough.

  15. exnavysub says: Feb 1, 2013 12:11 PM

    I hate the media sometimes. I realize a “comedian” got this rolling for asking the question first, but the leeches with political agendas have made this much worse. Enough of this and get back to and stay on football.

  16. bmoritz2003 says: Feb 1, 2013 12:13 PM

    Maybe the organinzation should have been more honest about what they’re goals are. Why are they getting a pass in this?

  17. Ponder This says: Feb 1, 2013 12:29 PM

    granadafan says:Feb 1, 2013 11:06 AM

    Football players who are young and very likely from small rural towns in the south are likely to be ignorant and naive about gays and rights as human beings. They’ve been exposed to bigotry their whole lives in these religious and conservative towns. I wouldn’t beat these players up too much over some comments. The more they are exposed to life beyond their protected lives, the more they’ll realize that bigotry and discrimination are wrong.
    ________

    Yeah, because religious people, conservative people, people from small towns, and people from the south are all bigots. Thanks for clearing that up for us, Mr. Open Minded.

  18. bullcharger says: Feb 1, 2013 12:46 PM

    RavenzGunnerz says:Feb 1, 2013 11:10 AM

    People should choose to love who they wish to love. But I don’t like when gay rights activists stoop too low like this. Oh… everybody must support us.

    Leave these players alone. If they don’t like gay players, hey this is America. Has it occurred to you that they are also entitled to these views?

    —————–

    They are entitled to those views for sure. They just can’t prevent gay players from being on the team or playing… because, hey this is America.

  19. 303bengalguy says: Feb 1, 2013 1:11 PM

    When I first read that they DID participate, I scratched my head at Ahmad Brooks being one to take part. Having followed him while he was a Bengal, he just never struck me as the type to do something like this, right wrong or indifferent. He just doesn’t seem like he’d care enough about this topic to do anything like this.

  20. bayarea510 says: Feb 1, 2013 1:11 PM

    Can the media please stop. Enough already. These men are here to play football. Also, another thing…the Castro District does not define San Francisco. San Francisco is an amazing city and not one neighborhood defines it.

    Newsflash media…not all 800K residents of SF are gay men.

  21. slomax10 says: Feb 1, 2013 1:17 PM

    beerbaron says:
    Feb 1, 2013 11:41 AM
    It’s one thing to be entitled to have different views on political issues, but respecting gay rights is just basic human decency. People don’t “choose to love who they wish to love” any more than they choose to be born a certain height. If you don’t think gays have a right to play in the NFL or do anything else a straight person can, you’re no better than racists who thought we should have separate drinking fountains.

    Right on brother – my thoughts exactly. Why must people always judge other people. Why can’t everyone just live their own life without idiots bugging them about religion, race, sexuality…..and the list goes on. I for one am a “live and let live” kinda a guy – doesn’t matter what race, sexuality or anything else you are – if you’re a good person than I would have no problem telling people “that person is my friend”. Live life, have fun – life’s way too short to deal with this crap

  22. surfinbird1 says: Feb 1, 2013 1:19 PM

    They mis-remembered.

  23. chawk12thman says: Feb 1, 2013 2:27 PM

    Someone should do a story and remind everyone that it is also okay to be straight. Just don’t push it on anyone and don’t be so obvious about it.

  24. BringBackTheFlex says: Feb 1, 2013 3:15 PM

    “Politically correct” means you must lie. You cannot respond to any question with the truth of how you might feel else the media, just for ratings, will escalate it into a hate speech. Sports figures are not the most savvy folks, so they often just speak honestly, which gets them in trouble.

    If a player was asked, “Did you support the ‘I’m gay. Please don’t beat me up’ videos?” and responded with a “He11 no”, he would be castigated by everyone. Thus, Politically Correct translates to (in your best German SS accent), “You must vorship der Fadderland speak!!! We have vays to make you obey!”

  25. guinsrule says: Feb 1, 2013 3:16 PM

    The players have no control over the situation. If an openly gay player is on the team, they have to deal with it, but you can’t force them to like it.

  26. sixjak says: Feb 1, 2013 3:16 PM

    jeremycrowhurst says:
    Feb 1, 2013 12:04 PM
    Brooks and Sopoaga deserve any and all heat that they get over this.

    Can you imagine a player participating in a United Way ad, then later saying, “Hey, wait, I didn’t know the United Way is in favor of X and Y, I never agreed to that.”

    You did a good thing. Turns out it was by accident. Now you’re turning it to a bad thing? Classless jerks.

    __________

    If someone misleads another in order to secure their participation in an activity they’re unsure they would participate in if they knew all of the facts, then that that is unethical. Do you like it when people “do what’s best for you”?

  27. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 1, 2013 3:21 PM

    Imagine if there had been a time when African American players weren’t allowed to play because of discrimination.

    Or that Caucasian players didn’t want to share a locker room with them if they were allowed to play.

    Imagine a time when that discrimination was in the past and African Americans could enjoy their human rights to make an awful lot of money playing a game.

    Oh wait……

  28. redandgoldhitman52 says: Feb 1, 2013 3:22 PM

    this country is going soft

  29. donaldgorton says: Feb 1, 2013 3:46 PM

    The fact that Brooks and Sopoaga couldn’t recall a video they did 6 months earlier leads one to question whether the 49ers organization is putting lipstick on a pig when it comes to pleasing its gay fans. The locker room can remain a hostile environment consistent with anti-gay discrimination, but spin is all that matters. Disappointing.

  30. brettfavresmidget says: Feb 1, 2013 4:05 PM

    Vince Young suffers poor recall as well. Somebody should study these guys’ brains.

  31. canadianvikingfaniii says: Feb 1, 2013 4:35 PM

    America, so advanced in so many ways, so behind in so many more. Glad to be Canadian.

  32. expatpatfan says: Feb 1, 2013 4:42 PM

    It seems like about half the people here hope it doesn’t get better.

  33. jeremycrowhurst says: Feb 1, 2013 4:54 PM

    sixjak says:
    Feb 1, 2013 3:16 PM
    jeremycrowhurst says:
    Feb 1, 2013 12:04 PM
    Brooks and Sopoaga deserve any and all heat that they get over this.

    Can you imagine a player participating in a United Way ad, then later saying, “Hey, wait, I didn’t know the United Way is in favor of X and Y, I never agreed to that.”

    You did a good thing. Turns out it was by accident. Now you’re turning it to a bad thing? Classless jerks.

    __________

    If someone misleads another in order to secure their participation in an activity they’re unsure they would participate in if they knew all of the facts, then that that is unethical. Do you like it when people “do what’s best for you”?

    —————

    I’d be mad at the guy who misled me, but I’d take the high road and support what is clearly the right side of the issue.

    I sure wouldn’t go on record as saying, “I’m opposed to bullying, but not when the victims are gay kids”, which is what the two of them have essentially done.

  34. romosrevenge says: Feb 1, 2013 5:12 PM

    The League needs to eliminate the “off” week between the NFC/AFC Champ. games and the SB. It just encourages bad behavior by the media and everybody else involved in the sport. And to that end the PRO BOWL needs to be ELIMINATED entirely. Vote for the Pro Bowlers, absolutely. Let the players know who is the best (liked). But NO GAME. It’s a farce of astronomical proportions.

  35. sixjak says: Feb 1, 2013 6:20 PM

    Jeromycrowhurst,
    That is not what they essentially said. Lets look at what they said and try to not “read between the lines” and puts words in other ppl’s mouths.

    I don’t support same sex marriage but I do support same sex unions. I also oppose any person bullying another person for ANY reason and have defended and will continue to defend anyone that is bullied.

    I suspect this is what the majority of Americans believe.

  36. johngaltx says: Feb 1, 2013 6:26 PM

    So they show them the video and then they can no longer deny making it, so then they deny knowing what it was about. What kind of moron would look up to these types of individuals for leadership or guidance? It seems that one would be better off buying a puppy than listening to these two.

  37. whatjusthapped says: Feb 1, 2013 6:50 PM

    Its my assumption that most gays don’t care about football, as is their right, and most football fans don’t really think too much about gay rights. So why does it get that much press?

  38. joetoronto says: Feb 2, 2013 5:19 AM

    canadianvikingfaniii says:
    Feb 1, 2013 4:35 PM
    America, so advanced in so many ways, so behind in so many more. Glad to be Canadian.
    ***************************************************

    Speak for yourself, jackass.

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