Former Minnesota Vikings punter, Chris Kluwe, is available should an NFL team need a decent kicker. The outspoken gay-rights player was let go Monday, released over what many believe is the league’s intolerance to social activism. Others believe Chris’ separation from the Vikings has less to with his support of same-sex marriage and more to do with his age, performance and salary.
On May 7, Huffington Post covered the story after the outspoken gay rights advocate was released.
Kluwe tweeted this Monday after the, arguably, shocking news: “So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish! Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”
Chris is a long-time mouth-piece for sharing his views about issues not related to the gridiron. He espouses gay-marriage and detests the current gun laws on the books.
That’s nothing out of the norm, right? After all, everyone has an opinion about something and get this: The U.S. Constitution has this thing called free speech. However, that’s just it: Chris’ views on controversial issues have nothing to do with the game of football and perhaps — just perhaps — this led to his ouster from a team he called home.
A writer with Fox News wrote this after the gay-rights football player was released:
“The Vikings released the punter Monday. This may or may not have everything to do with Kluwe’s views about gay marriage (for) and gun control legislation (for) and just general outspokenness about issues that tend to divide us. It definitely factored into his release, and anybody in Minnesota who says otherwise is lying.”
Sounds plausible, right? Not so fast; others think Kluwe was booted out of the franchise because his stats were heading south. And at a time when eyes are on the NFL draft, it made perfect sense to source new talent
While his play was “inconsistent,” as some analysts say, Chris came off a good season and put the majority of his punts inside the 25-yard line. Not bad for an aging kicker, as some pundits call him.
Public opinion says Chris Kluwe is not the first gay-rights player released. The Baltimore Ravens released Brendon Ayanbadejo recently and Tim Tebow, while not an outspoken social activist, is known for being an avid Christian.
NBA center, Jason Collins, recently came out. In doing so, he became the first openly-gay active American male athlete, praised Ayanbadejo and Kluwe for their support.
“I’m impressed with the straight pro athletes who have spoken up so far — Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo. The more people who speak out, the better, gay or straight.”
While the NFL won’t admit it, the fact that a gay-rights player was released doesn’t help its case in denying the allegations.
Should professional athletes just shut up and play? Does social activism cause distractions? Or does free speech in team sports be praised and not vilified?