Outspoken supporter of LGBT rights and NFL punter Chris Kluwe was cut by the Minnesota Vikings. Kluwe, who has made headway in promoting and pushing for more gay inclusion in American sports, said that “making people aware of an issue that is causing children to commit suicide is more important than kicking a leather ball.”
On Twitter, after learning the news, he wrote “So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish!”
Many have come out to support Kluwe, who was instrumental in pushing marriage equality across the country. His release ironically comes as Minnesota looks ready to pass marriage equality in the state.
Kluwe continued: ”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.” Followed by: “And thank you everyone for your support. Remember, one label does not define who you are as a person.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune did question whether it was the punter’s background and being outspoken about human rights that could have led to his release.
Kluwe said: “Now, I would hope that I would get the chance to play football again, because I think I can still play. But if it ends up being something that costs me that position, I think making people aware of an issue that is causing children to commit suicide is more important than kicking a leather ball.”
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman was adamant that cutting Kluwe had nothing to do with what the player said or did off the field.
“When we’re making decisions, we’re purely making them trying to bring in the best competition possible regardless of position,” he said.
“This was just another normal personnel move. It had nothing to do with Chris Kluwe’s off-field concerns, I have no issues if Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion, that’s his right, that’s his freedom of speech. This is just a football decision to bring in a guy to come in to compete.”