San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver became the face of last year's Super Bowl media week when he said he would not want to play with an openly gay teammate. More than a year later, Culliver said he would welcome Michael Sam into the NFL.
"I applaud Michael [Sam] and Jason [Collins] for their courage. I have absolutely no problem playing and interacting with someone from the LGBTQ community and look forward to connecting with Michael soon on some projects." Culliver said in an interview with the San Franciso Bay Times, his first with an LGBT publication.
Last year, after being roundly criticized for his Super Bowl remarks, Culliver visited the Trevor Project, which seeks to prevent suicides in LGBT youth. He reiterated his support for the group in an interview with the Associated Press:
"I truly appreciate the staff at the Trevor Project for allowing me to grow and educating me on the issues affecting the LGBTQ community," Culliver said. "I have learned so much and made some really great friends. I will continue my commitment to the organization and to their youths and stand firm with hope that one day that all individuals regardless of sex, race, or creed will be treated with dignity and respect from all."
The interview with the Bay Times also delves into Culliver's new passion for how animals are treated in the inner city, for which he will be honored by the SF SPCA organization Critter Lovers at Work.
Culliver's change of heart on gay issue seems genuine and it shows that allies can be made from one-time adversaries. What a difference a year makes.