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49ers Players Distance Themselves From Team 'It Gets Better' Video

It Gets Better project removes video from their site, Outsports removes players from the video

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Ahmad Brooks
Ahmad Brooks
Stephen Brashear

The San Francisco 49ers were the first (and only) NFL team to create an It Gets Better video. Now the It Gets Better project has removed the video from their site because two of the video's participants claim they never appeared in the video.

Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and linebacker Ahmad Brooks both clearly appear in the video. But when approached by USA Today, the players denied their participation.

"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 the players were shown the video -- with them in it -- it got a little weird.

"Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video," he said.

When told that studies show that the majority of teens who are bullied are harassed over sexual identity issues, Brooks thought for a second.

"I know that. I know that," he said. "Okay, you're right and I'm wrong. Are you from one of those New York newspapers?"

Now the It Gets Better project has pulled the video from their Web site.

"We don't want videos of people who didn't realize what they were doing," project founder Dan Savage told Outsports. "It's a project specifically aimed at LGBT kids and their unique need for support and role models."

I totally understand why they've pulled it. If two of the participants denied being in it -- and one now seemingly isn't very LGBT-friendly and the other won't comment -- it undermines some of the power of the video.

Still, the video includes a stellar appearance by safety Donte Whitner. It would be nice to see the video edited without these two men.

It also reflects a problem we've written about here several times: These athletes must be asked to say "LGBT" or "gay" in the videos. I'm assuming these men are correct and they were simply asked to offer generic anti-bullying messages (Whitner does, in fact, say "LGBT" in the video but the others do not). Without asking them to specifically refer to gay athletes and LGBT youth, you risk it all blowing up in your face.

Here's the video, recut to include only those athletes who support LGBT equality: