As the San Francisco 49ers held a special Diversity & Inclusion Day at training camp last Thursday — inviting members of the LGBTQ fan group 49ers Pride to attend the team’s Community Corner — newly acquired DT Maurice Hurst opened up about his support for LGBTQ people, including the possibility of having a gay teammate.
“Living out here in the Bay Area I’ve made a few close [LGBTQ] friends,” Hurst told Outsports via the 49ers. “It’s a very prideful community and area. When you connect with someone, you really don’t think about their sexuality or anything like that. They’re just close friends and you treat them as such.”
Hurst just moved to the Bay Area this spring, having been waived by the Las Vegas Raiders and quickly signed by the 49ers. The defensive tackle has slowly made his way from coast to coast, growing up in Massachusetts and earning all-Big Ten honors with Michigan Wolverines.
While Carl Nassib wasn’t out to his teammates or the public at the time, Hurst was teammates with him in Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
Hurst said he would be “extra supportive” of any athlete who came out as big, gay or queer.
“I know a lot of people will end up saying it shouldn’t matter, but it’s such a [rare] thing in the NFL that I feel like that person would need a lot of close friends and support throughout that process,” he said.
Hurst has talked with various former teammates who are still with the Raiders, and they’ve told him that kind of support is exactly what they’ve tried to show Nassib.
“They’ve all been really accepting of Carl, and I know I would be an ally in that coming out process for him and try to be a good friend and try to help people understand why it was so hard for him and why he had to do what he did to live his true self and true life.”
According to Jordan Elliott at Niners Nation, Hurst has had a solid training camp, with Elliott predicting Hurst will have a “significant role as a rotational pass rusher.”
49ers Pride is a fan group created by the team to demonstrate a full embrace of LGBTQ fans by the team. The team also sells a ton of different 49ers pride apparel complete with rainbows.
In launching 49ers Pride, the team had recruited TE George Kittle as a voice for the launch.
“We’re proud to launch 49ers Pride, the official community of the 49ers fans who identify as LGBTQ+ and allies,” Kittle said in a recorded video.