NEW ORLEANS, LA (WACH) - Former Gamecock and current San Francisco 49er cornerback Chris Culliver has apologized for anti-gay remarks he made during a Super Bowl media day interview with comedian Artie Lange.
On Tuesday, Culliver said gay players would not be welcome in the 49ers' locker room when Lange asked him if there are any gay players on the team.
"No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do," said Culliver. "Can't be with that sweet stuff."
On Thursday, Culliver reversed course and apologized for what he called "hurtful and ugly " comments when talking with reporters.
"It was never in a serious manner. I guess I really wasn't thinking," said Culliver. "It's definitely not nothing I feel in my heart."
The incident has put a player who started only six games this season squarely in the crosshairs on one of sports' biggest stages.
Culliver's anti-gay remarks also had ripple effects in the Palmetto State where he played his college ball at the University of South Carolina.
South Carolina Equality, which works to secure equal civil and human rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender South Carolinians, expressed disappointment over Culliver's initial remarks.
"Professional sports players like Chris Culliver live in a unique spotlight where fans of all ages look to them for inspiration. The comments that Chris Culliver made about gay players in the NFL are discouraging because they perpetuate a culture (of) homophobia in sports environments," said Ryan Wilson, executive director of SC Equality. "As a University of South Carolina student, Chris Culliver participated in the Carolinian Creed that all students agree to abide by which states 'â?¦I will discourage bigotry, while striving to learn from differences in people, ideas and opinion'.
The 49ers organization rejected Culliver's remarks Wednesday, saying in a statement "there is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level."
The team's head coach, Jim Harbaugh, also condemned Culliver's comments during a Thursday news conference.
"We reject what he said. It is not something that reflects the way the organization feels or the way any of the other players feel," said Harbaugh. "He will learn about himself. I hope and pray it effects him in a positive way going forward."
Culliver says he hopes to "learn and grow" from the situation.
"I have no discrimination for other sexualities," he said. "I treat everybody equal in every type of way."