How much longer will we pretend that athletes' social and political opinions matter?
Sometimes, however, someone manages to catch an athlete in the right (or perhaps wrong) situation and they'll say something controversial.
At that point, people love to jump all over them, and act like the world is going to end when an athlete says something stupid.
The most recent example of this was when 49ers backup cornerback Chris Culliver made some disparaging comments about homosexuals during a Media Day interview with Artie Lange.
Keep in mind: This is a backup football player, being interviewed by a guy who is primarily known for being a flunky on shock jock Howard Stern's radio show.
Not surprisingly, Lange managed to coerce some offensive comments out of Culliver, and everyone was in a flurry about it. Like Gregg Doyel said so well in his column, Culliver played his ignorant role, and then the media and fans played their role. They took the bait hook, line, and sinker.
Can we stop and think about this for a second, though?
Why does anyone really care about what a football player has to say about social or political issues?
Genuinely caring about Culliver's opinions on homosexuality would be no different from caring about Hillary Clinton's vertical leap or Stephen Hawking's best time in the 40-yard dash.
It's absolutely ludicrous. Clinton's vertical leap has nothing to do with contributions to society, and doesn't reflect on anything she has done. Hawking's inability to run 40 yards, even if he wanted to, doesn't take anything away from the fact that he is one of the most brilliant scientific minds in the world.
There's no reason that any of us should care at all about those things.
In the same way, Culliver's views on homosexuality, or ANYTHING for that matter, are completely irrelevant.
Culliver's purpose in life is to play football. As long as he manages to prevent opposing offenses from making big plays, he has done his job.
Yes, of course we wish our athletes (and everyone else) would have intelligent and informed opinions on every subject imaginable. Just like I bet the Grandma from the AT&T commercial would like it if she were fast. But we can't expect everyone to be good at everything.
Unless and until Chris Culliver somehow proves that his opinions are educated and worthy of our attention, why should anyone be listening to what he has to say about anything other than football?