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LGBT ally, marriage equality advocate Chris Kluwe cut by Minnesota Vikings

Monday, May 6, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, an outspoken ally and supporter of same-sex marriage, said Monday he has been released by the team.

“So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish!” Kluwe tweeted on Monday morning, shortly after meeting with Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman. “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 Kluwe

Kluwe, had been anticipating the move after the Vikings spent a fifth-round draft pick on punter Jeff Locke at the end of last month. Kluwe was coming off one of his best statistical seasons, but he ranked just 17th in the NFL in punting and was due to make $1.45 million this season.

In recent years, Kluwe has become an outspoken advocate for marriage equality and LGBT rights, a thorn in the side of the NFL establishment and a player who never subscribed the mantra “punters should be seen and not heard.”

His release could result in some backlash by fans who applaud his support of same-sex marriage, writes Star-Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins:

Regardless of whether they admit it, the Vikings are jettisoning Kluwe partly because they grew tired of his outspokenness. It’s naive to think the move is based solely on his age (31), salary ($1.45 million) or how he performed last season (inconsistently).

Kluwe has become the most visible punter in NFL history because of his social activism. The Vikings deny that Kluwe’s public stance on issues factored into their decision — not that they would ever admit it — but they likely prefer someone who embraces the anonymous life of an NFL punter.

[...]

Kluwe has developed a wide audience and become a polarizing figure as a staunch advocate for same-sex marriage. Whether it’s gay rights, player safety or Ray Guy’s omission from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Kluwe isn’t afraid to voice his opinion. And he refuses to apologize for that, even if it contributes to his exit.

Kluwe himself wondered aloud last week if his activism would contribute to his release from the Vikings.

“It’s a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut,” Kluwe told NBC Sports on April 28 via text message.

Kluwe’s release means the league’s two most vocal advocates for gay rights are now out of work.

Last month, the Baltimore Ravens released reserve linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, also an outspoken champion of LGBT rights and marriage equality.

The following day, Ayanbadejo hinted that his advocacy for marriage equality and LGBT rights may have been one of the reasons he was cut from the team, according to a report by Newsday. Ayanbadejo quickly walked back the comment and said he did not believe his advocacy was a factor.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. Time to have the lawyers check this out Chris.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:12am
  2. People are just ignorant.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:12am
  3. Unfair.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:13am
  4. How did they know he was cut?

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:14am
  5. Terrible.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:14am
  6. what pussies.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:14am
  7. Exactly but I’m glad he stands for equality :)

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:15am
  8. People still do not get it, gay people are everywhere, in sports, entertainment, police, military. Wonderful gay people, they have fought for rights, which should be a God given right, my son was BORN gay and he is amazing! Too bad ignorance is the choice for Minnesota!

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:15am
  9. Wow your cut because of sexuality gtfoh with that spin there heads with a law suite and go play for another team

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:15am
  10. Vikings

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:15am
  11. Too bad. I hope you rebound & make them regret the decision.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:17am
  12. There is simply no evidence to argue that he was let go due to him being an ally. They may have just let him go because he’s not what they wanted, maybe he wasn’t that great of a player.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:17am
  13. … F.-thee-VIKINGS!!!

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:18am
  14. this is a shame, but once they cut adjudeon from baltimore i knew kluwe was next. this is a shame because the nfl says it is ready for a openly gay player. this proves they truly are not!

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:22am
  15. thats bull shit

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:24am
  16. WHEREVER YOU GO……WE GO

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:26am
  17. Interesting piece by columnist

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:27am
  18. It’s a true loss, he’s a wonderful person, many great things will be in his future, thank you for your beliefs and being the person you are.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:29am
  19. i hope they didnt cut him on his beliefs

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:30am
  20. Well, business and bigotry as usual,

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:42am
  21. I’m an avid football fan–he sucks. I’m bi and think it’s great he supports equality, but the team was done with him either way.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:50am
  22. I think this may prove to be a good thing, this just opened up a LOT of doors for him – make a negative a positive!!!

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:50am
  23. What a crock of shit!

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:00am
  24. That sucks, maybe there are better things ahead for Ms. Kluwe

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:03am
  25. That’s life in the NFL.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:17am
  26. I live in MN, and have been a diehard Vikings fan my whole life. Let’s clear some of the rumors/lies going around: Chris Kluwe is not gay. Statistically, he was the BEST kicker the Vikings have ever had. He was let go because of his being an outspoken ally for marriage equality and human rights for the GLBT community. The team owners, managers, and NFL reps have publicly admonished Chris for his activities and had basically tried to make him shut his trap. He wouldn’t. We knew this was coming since last fall. It wasn’t any big surprise. The important thing now is how fans and season ticket holders will respond. There are going to be a lot of pissed off Purple People Eaters!!!

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:17am
  27. I hope the patriots pick him up, dust him off, and give him a home in New England.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:29am
  28. That’s a shame. He had a great season. I can’t help but believe his speaking up for us hurt his football career.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:43am
  29. I have to admit, it hardly seems coincidental that two pro-equality players have been let go by their respective teams.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:58am
  30. What the fuck?

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:36pm
  31. What a shame. I don’t know if its just a coincidence that Kluwe and the Ravens very outspoken player were both let go. I hope this isn’t the NFL’s way of accepting and tolerance.

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 2:33pm
  32. Unreal

    Posted on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 2:56pm