San Francisco 49ers become first NFL team to join anti-LGBT bullying campaignTop Highlights Friday, August 24th, 2012
The San Francisco 49ers have become the first NFL team to join the “It Gets Better” public service announcement campaign, which seeks to assure LGBT youth that, despite whatever circumstances they now face, being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender doesn’t mean being doomed to live a life under the thumb of bullies and bigots.
Anchored by videos of celebrities and other public figures – both LGBT and non-LGBT – the project has garnered much attention. This first foray into the world of professional football, however, marks a chapter of the campaign where organizers have succeeded breaking into a hard shell to crack. The perceived-to-be all-heterosexual, all-testosterone, all-tough-guys universe of high-stakes no-hold-barred contact sports. That said, there have been some NFL stars who have, post-facto, come out of the closet in retirement. Pre-season cornerback and former Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Redskins player, Wade Davis being the most recent.
Nevertheless, four presumably straight 49ers – all from the team’s defense lineup – agreed to tape a one-minute “It Gets Better” spot, which condemns anti-LGBT bullying.”
Ahmad Brooks, Ricky Jean Francois, Isaac Sopoaga and Donte Whitner all chimed in. “The San Francisco 49ers are proud to join ItGetsBetter.org, to let all LGBT teens know that it gets better,” Whitner said in the video. “On behalf of the entire 49ers organization, we are on your side, and we promise it gets better.”
LGBT Weekly contacted a 49ers spokesman, who said the team was excited to be a part of the campaign. Although the team hasn’t issued its own press release about its participation, word has already gotten out via the San Jose Mercury News, The Huffington Post and Change.org, among other media outlets.
The team’s participation didn’t happen in a vacuum, however. Mega-49er-fan, Sean Chapin started a petition that garnered almost 17,000 signatures, urging the San Franciso 49ers to join their Major League Baseball counterparts in town, the San Francisco Giants, in supporting the anti-bullying campaign.
“Let’s hope this is only the beginning, and that more NFL and professional sports teams around the country take this opportunity to speak up on behalf of LGBT fans and kids,” Chapin said.
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