msnbc | February 05, 2013
>> the area. fresh off that victory, ravens player is speaking out again about his advocacy for marriage equality . in an interview with hip-hop mogul russell simmons says being the first pioneer publicly accepting same-sex marriage in the three major sports was difficult at first, but the more people scrutinized and ridiculed me, the stronger i became for that issue." joining me now is chris cluey, punter for the minnesota vikings and another athlete ally in the nfl who has had a very strong platform to use to talk about marriage equality and also bullying in this country. it's great to have you with me, and i want to start off talking about chris culliver of the 49ers who spent the majority of his super bowl week on the defense over his comments about what it will be like to have a gay player on his team. in your opinion, chris , do you think he should have faced a tougher penalty from the league for speaking the way that he did?
>> um, i think ideally the goal is to educate chris on, you know, why his comments were hurtful and denigrating to people because, you know, it really sounded like he was speaking from a spot of ignorance, where he just hadn't interacted with anyone who was gay or just knew what it was like, so i think the goal there is to make him realize why what he said is wrong.
>> all right. one thing, though, you the 49ers got a lot of praise because they were the first football team to be awe part of the it gets better campaign, which was prerecorded messages to talk about youth bully and to second a message to young kids that could be lgbt that, it gets better, and they were, you know -- they were praised for this. now that video has been pulled by dan savage , and it gets better, because when thez players were questioned about chris culliver's comments, and they said they didn't even remember having made that, and they didn't do anything for gay rights . is it a problem that, you know, many of us -- we glorify our pro sports , our athletes in this country? is it bad when we come to you guys asking you to get political and intellectualize really hard conversations?
>> yomg it's bad. i think it's something every citizen should could is take part in this country. i mean, that's something where no matter what job you have, you have a vested interest in making things better for america because you live here. i mean, this is our home. i think the reason most athletes aren't political and aren't open is because, you know, it can create a dis traction, and that makes it difficult to focus on your job, but the thing is that we have this platform in order to make a difference, and i think it's incumbent upon us to make that difference.
>> you know, you've gotten feedback from within the own collective of your team where people have said basically to you just shut up and kick. you have not just shut up about anything that you feel strongly about, but does that embolden you just kind of like brendan was satisfying? getting the scrutiny only makes me clearer in what i'm doing is right.
>> well, no one has actually said that to me on the team. i think it was more a couple comments from my coach were taken out of context, but no, it's actually -- the guys on the team have been very supportive. there's been guys that have come up to me and said, well, we may not agree with you on the same-sex issue, we definitely agree with you supporting brendan on his free speech , and then other guys have come up and said we support you and think everything you said was right, and i think a key thing to notice there is it's not just guys on my team, but guys from other teams have come up to me and said, hey, man, i think you have done the right thing.
>> you have been using your voice for marriage equality . what do you think will happen legislatively in minnesota?
>> well, i think that sooner -- probably rather than later gay marriage will be legal in the state because the ark of history tends towards freedom. people want to be free to live their own lives, and i think the key thing is that other people need to realize live your own life and treat other people the way you want to be treated. that's really a very simple concept, but it takes some people a very long time to figure it out.
>> chris , i know you do a lot of work, too, without athlete ally, which is helping to raise awareness about breaking homophobia in sports and being a straight ally in that sense, but best of luck to you, and i know you have been healing up, but you're going to be good to go in the new season. chris , thank you, sir. good to see you.
>> thank you very much.