Minnesota Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe, who has been a staunch ally of the LGBT community, has penned another op/ed for CNN on the topic of a player in the NFL coming out as gay.
With players making public statements on both sides of the issue, Kluwe has remained a steadfast supporter and advocate, along with players like Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Kluwe’s piece focuses on the idea of distraction. He says, “Don’t be a distraction,” is a mantra pounded into every NFL payer’s head. “The team comes first,” “Sacrifice your personal goals to win,” “Only be judged by what goes on between the lines.”
Kluwe believes that a person’s sexuality shouldn’t be considered such a distraction among teammates.
He says he wrote the piece because, “the first gay player who eventually does come out needs to know that — despite all the indoctrination from the league about not being a distraction — if he’s the one to take the first step, he will have allies…and that guys who bring our wives and children to games and team events are no different than those who would bring their husbands and children.”
“Most importantly,” continues Kluwe, “I’m writing this so that coaches, managers, players, owners and fans realize that the first gay player who comes out won’t spontaneously cause rainbows to erupt out of everyone’s rear.”
Kluwe acknowledges that the situation is not perfect. Despite allies like himself and Ayanbadejo, he says there will be those who will scrutinize and judge the first openly gay player harshly. But, to that player, Kluwe writes, “You are a teammate, a friend, and you do not have to sacrifice who you are for the team to win, no matter what anyone else says. You are not a distraction.”