BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – "On behalf of the entire San Francisco 49ers organization, we are on your side, and we promise . . . it gets better," safety Donte Whitner says in a one-minute It Gets Better video.
Whitner appears in the video along with linebacker Ahmad Brooks, as well as defensive tackles Ricky Jean Francois and Isaac Sopoaga.
The National Football League (NFL) team joined the anti-bullying movement after 16,000 fans signed a change.org petition urging it to shoot the video, according to a San Francisco Chronicle blog.
Long-time 49ers fan Sean Chapin started the petition. "With their 'It Gets Better' video, the 49ers are shining a golden beacon of hope to LGBT youth, and as a gay man, I enthusiastically applaud their courage and leadership,” Chapin says in a statement.
Prior to this latest initiative, Chapin had also encouraged the San Francisco Giants baseball team to make its own video to confront homophobia. "They agreed and made a fantastic video," Chapin says in his appeal to the 49ers. "Then seven other baseball teams followed the Giants' lead and made videos for the It Gets Better project."
"The 49ers can do what the Giants did earlier this year in their own league," Chapin added. "The 49ers can start a movement within the National Football League."
“Sean Chapin has proved once again that there’s a place for sports teams to challenge homophobia on and off the field,” says change.org's campaign director, Eden James. “By winning this campaign, Sean will hopefully inspire countless other fans to urge their teams to support the It Gets Better project and create videos condemning anti-gay bullying and harassment.”
Landing image: San Francisco 49ers