Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan wants San Francisco 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver suspended for remarks he made at the Super Bowl this week about gay players. I respectfully disagree with Ryan. Here is what Ryan tweeted:
If Chris Culliver isn't suspended by Goodell then I am absolutely embarrassed to be part of a league that accepts this type of behavior.
First off, it's awesome that we have another ally in the fight for gays in sports. Ryan, 31, is a seven-year NFL punter, the past five with Seattle. He is a Canadian native.
Here is what Culliver said this week to shock jock Artie Lange:
"I don't do the gay guys man. I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah...can't be...in the locker room man. Nah."
As I wrote earlier this week, this does not warrant a suspension. This is different than had Culliver verbally attacked a particular player, coach, fan or media member with a gay slur; that deserves a fine and suspension. What Culliver said was ignorant, dumb and hurtful. As much as I hated that he said it, I'm a free speech advocate and don't think what he said rises to the level of punishment.
It's not that Culliver hasn't been called on the carpet. The 49ers made him face the media alone yesterday to answer question after question and he looked miserable and uncomfortable. Good, he should feel that way. Nine members of the 49ers organization, including Coach Jim Harbaugh, plus several players spoke to Culliver about how bad his remarks were. Team owner Jed York took on the issue head-on, saying he met with Culliver:
"I hope that Chris will live up to his comments of wanting to expand his horizons, wanting to get to know the LGBT community," York said. "Being truly sorry for it. And I think if that happens, you truly have something that could have been a negative, intolerant, hateful situation turn into something where you see a football player that had an uninformed opinion.
"Now he can grow in his experience and be a beacon for, hopefully, everyone in the locker room for the 49ers. Hopefully in the NFL. And show it's more than what your uninformed, juvenile opinion is of something. And that's what I want to push Chris to do."
Culliver is young and dumb, and young and dumb can be educated and grow from the experience. I am not criticizing Jon Ryan for his stance, but just disagree on what the reaction should be.
I would love to hear what you have to say on this. If you ran the 49ers, what would you have done to Culliver?