A Bay Area man is petitioning the San Francisco 49ers to become the first National Football League team to create an “It Gets Better” video speaking out against the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Through an online petition on Change.org, San Francisco resident Sean Chapin has already gathered more than 7,000 signatures in support of a 49ers video against bullying and homophobia.

The native San Franciscan and lifelong 49ers fan said in his video appeal to the NFL team that the gay community is facing a “pressure cooker situation” not unlike tough times the team has weathered on the football field over the years.

Chapin made a similar petition earlier this year, which motivated the San Francisco Giants to release an “It Gets Better” video in May, spurring seven more Major League Baseball teams to do the same.

“The 49ers can do what the Giants did earlier this year, starting a movement within their sport to stand up against bullying and homophobia,” Chapin said in a statement. “If the 49ers become the first NFL team to make an ‘It Gets Better’ video, they can inspire other football teams to reach out to their local communities as well.”

According to Change.org interim Chief Organizing Director Eden James, a 49ers spokesperson said recently that the team hadn’t yet received an official request to make a video, but that if they did, “they probably will make one”.

That video would add to the more than 20,000 “It Gets Better” videos made over the past year since syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller first launched the project after a string of teen suicides by gay youth and young people perceived to be gay.

Change.org is a social change website that is “about empowering anyone, anywhere to make a difference,” James said.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

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