ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton has joined the list of those wondering if the Minnesota Vikings cut veteran punter Chris Kluwe solely for performance purposes.
Dayton says “I don’t feel good about” the Vikings cutting Kluwe, an eight-year veteran who was released from the team on Monday, and is being replaced by rookie Jeff Locke.
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.”
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.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said during the draft he supports Kluwe’s right to speak his mind.
When asked if he thought Kluwe’s campaign for gay marriage last season played a role in his departure, Dayton said, “I can’t say for sure.”
The governor says he thought Kluwe should’ve had the chance to compete for the job in the preseason.