Chris Culliver, an NFL player who said that there were no gay people on his team, and that if there were any, they should leave, has apologised, and said his comments were “hurtful and ugly”.

NFL Player, Chris Culliver, who is set to play for the San Francisco 49ers in this weekend’s Super Bowl, has said in an interview that he didn’t think there were any gay players on his team, and that they wouldn’t be welcome if there were.

The cornerback said that gay NFL football players were not welcome, and if there were any gay men playing on his team, they should leave.

He has now issued a statement apologising for the comments, and which said they didn’t reflect his true feelings on the issue.

It read: “The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel. It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience.”

Mr Culliver’s team, the San Francisco 49ers also issued a statement, which said that the team rejects Culliver’s comments. There was speculation that he may be fined, or suspended for the comments, but the 49ers did not address that in its statement.

“The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris. There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community,” the statement read.

Openly gay former 49ers player, Kwame Harris, also spoke out about the comments made by Culliver prior to his apology being issued.

Mr Harris told NBC: “It’s surprising that in 2013 Chris Culliver would use his 15 minutes to spread vitriol and hate. I recognize that these are comments that he may come to regret and that he may come to see that gay people are not so different than straight people.”

Earlier this week, Mr Harris was charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges involving a former boyfriend.

Kwame Harris played for the San Francisco 49ers until 2007 and the charges relate to an incident outside a restaurant in August of last year between Harris, 30, and Dimitri Geier, who suffered several facial fractures that required surgery.

The Super Bowl will take place in the US on 3 February 2013.