NEW ORLEANS -- Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Santa Cruz native and special teams player for the Baltimore Ravens, is hoping disparaging remarks made by 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver will provide important dialogue regarding the acceptance of gays in society.
Ayanadejo, an advocate of same-sex marriage since 2009, has been outspoken on gay rights issues and said he held no ill will toward Culliver.
"Being from the Bay Area myself, that's something that we really try to preach -- love and acceptance of everybody," Ayanbadejo said Thursday at the Ravens press conference. "So I really couldn't even say anything negative to the young man. It's one of those things that you have to live and you have to learn. In the words of Martin Luther King, you can't fight hate with hate, you have to fight hate with love.''
Culliver, in a taped media day interview which aired Wednesday on the Artie Lange Show, said, ``I don't do the gay guys, man. I don't do that,'' and later added, ``We don't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do.''
The second-year cornerback apologized in a statement Wednesday night and again in front of the media Thursday.
``We've all made our mistakes, we've all been there and done certain things and we've hurt people regardless of whether we we meant to do it or not,'' Ayanbadejo said. ``More than anything, it's an opportunity to have a learning experience.''
Ayanbadejo, who attended Santa
``I've preached since Day 1 to my teammates, there are certain words you can't say,'' Ayanbadejo said. ``When they're around me, they know, if B.A. is around, you can't say gay in a derogatory manner. You can't say the three-letter `F' word.''
The result will be the kind of bad publicity Culliver experienced.
``If people hear you say those things, regardless of whether you mean them or not, they're going to fry you for it if it's in a public arena, and your whole reputation is going to be roasted for it,'' Ayanbadejo said. ``He apologized and hopefully he'll learn.
``He's in the Bay Area, so it's real important there. It's pertinent and so I think he's going to learn and he's going to grow from it and he's going to be a better person for it.''