By Monique Jones
1:53 PM CST, January 31, 2013
Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo said he plans to reach out to San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver in hopes of starting a positive discussion, following Culliver's anti-gay comments earlier this week.
Ayanbadejo has been vocal in his support of same-sex marriage and was surrounded by media on Thursday hours after Culliver's comments became public.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Culliver was asked by Artie Lange in a podcast if the 49ers had any homosexual players on the team.
Culliver said: "No. Ain't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff."
The 49ers released a statement condemning the comments and Culliver apologized in a statement. On Thursday, he addressed a crowd of reporters and apologized again.
"[I was] really just not thinking. [It was] something that I thought. Definitely nothing that I felt in my heart," Culliver said.
Culliver added: "I support gay people, gay communities, and different racial [backgrounds]. It was just something I feel apologetic to, and I’m sorry that I made a comment and that hurt anyone -- that I made a comment that might affect anyone in the organization, NFL, or anything like that."
While Culliver's comments were insensitive, Ayanbadejo said it shouldn't reflect on the NFL.
"It's not fair to bundle us all up and say the NFL is homophobic," Ayanbadejo said. "You can't control how individuals think. I would like to think that every single organization would stand on the side of not accepting discrimination. ..."
Ayanbadejo acknowledged that the statements by Culliver are not unique but said it is an opportunity to educate players and others.
"A lot of guys don't know anything about it," he said. "They may have friends in the LGBT community but they don't know it. They have no knowledge or understanding of the situation, so I try to shed some light on it when I can.
"When the situation comes up, I let them know it's not acceptable to say those words. And if you replace gay for dumb or dumb for gay, then that's really derogatory and that hurts people. I let them know and sometimes they understand.
"I see guys coming around slowly and they say, 'Oh, B.A.'s around, we can't say this or say that.' But I think eventually it's going to be [change them when] they're out and when they're doing other things. It's not just gay. There are so many words that are not politically correct. It's not acceptable and it hurts people."
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said the comments were unacceptable.
"We reject what he said. That’s not something that reflects the way the organization feels, the way most of the players feel," Harbaugh said.
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