Minn. NFL Star Endorses Marriage Equality
A punter for the Minnesota Vikings football team voiced his support for gay marriage this week, Out Sports reported.
Chris Kluwe, 30, who has been with the Vikings for nearly eight years, has done three radio ads for Minnesotans for Equality and said he opposes a November ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriage in the state.
"Someone (from Minnesotans for Equality) contacted me on Twitter and asked if I'd be interested," Kluwe told Outsports.com. "I said yes. I've always believed that people are inherently the same and should have the same rights and equal protection under the law. It really doesn't matter what you do with who or whom as long as you're not infringing on someone else's rights. Everyone should be free to live their own life however it makes them happy."
Kluwe also said that he had a hand in writing the ads and that it was important to him that he talked about family because his brother-in-law is gay.
"I don't think a lot of people realize that family is family. It doesn't matter who you are; the people you grow up with, that's your family," he said. "If you find out your kid is gay, are you going to love him any less? Because if you do, then you're probably not doing parenting for the right reasons."
"One of my wife's brothers is gay and I know him and his partner [who live in California] would love to get married but they can't," he told the website. Currently, California does not recognize gay marriage.
The athlete also added that he would still support marriage equality even if he did not have an openly gay family member.
"I would definitely still be signing up for it. One of the things my parents [Ron and Sandy] brought me up with is that you should have equality for everyone," Kluwe said.
Although sports culture is far too often homophobic, as a number of athletes have been criticized (and in some cases penalized) for making homophobic comments, there have been some instances that show there more athletes are starting to become more accepting of the LGBT community.
Earlier this month Houston Texan Conner Barwin came out for marriage equality as well. The linebacker told Out Sports that he became a supporter for same-sex marriage because his brother is gay.
"I just embrace diversity and it stems from my parents. I've seen how important it is to my brother and have watched how it's changed over time and how it's changed in the NFL and how much more people are beginning to understand and accept gay people in all different areas of life," he said. "I feel I can make a stand in the position I'm in, especially in such a masculine sport and hope my support can maybe have a small effect on helping to change people's minds."
Like many young Americans, Barwin and Kluwe come from a generation that is more accepting of gays and perhaps will make it easier for closeted sports players to come out during their career.
"The first guy that does come out in the NFL might confide in some of his friends and it might spread and be accepted throughout the locker room," Barwin said. "And people would just get to know he's gay and people will move on with football, the season and their life and realize it's not a big deal at all."
When Out Sports asked Kluwe if he has ever heard someone use homophobic slurs in the locker room or on the field, the punter said, "I used to but I think that's one of the things that's changed due to culture in general the past 15 years."
Out Sports also reported in early June that former NFL player Wade Davis came out of the closet. Wade, who played cornerback for three major teams, including the Tennessee Titians, the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins, said he found it difficult to announce his sexuality while he was playing.
"You just want to be one of the guys, and you don't want to lose that sense of family," Davis told the website. "Your biggest fear is that you'll lose that camaraderie and family."
Listen to the radio ad on YouTube below: