Liam Day explains the political controversy behind Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s viral rant, and urges gay athletes to break the stereotype that pits homosexuality against masculinity.
Jumping into the fray next, though, is Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who posted a letter to Deadspin defending Ayanbadejo’s right to speak out in support of gay marriage and attacking Delegate Burns for his attempt to suppress free speech.
In addition to offering more than a couple of Matt Taibbi-like turns of phrase, the most popular of which, “They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster,” is quickly making the rounds on the internet, Kluwe makes three basic points: 1) the attempt to cow Ravens ownership into silencing one of its employees is un-American; 2) one of the delegate’s justifications for this request, that political activism has no role to play in sports, which, in his words, are strictly about “pride, entertainment, and excitement,” ignores the rich history that sports have played in the politics, particularly the racial politics, of this country; and 3) same-sex marriage will have exactly “zero effect on your life.”
The first point may be self-evident, but it is worth pointing out that Delegate Burns’ request comes in the wake of an earlier controversy in which the mayors of Boston and Chicago both attempted to do just about what he is, by publicly stating they would bar Chick-fil-A from opening franchises in their cities due to the owner’s outspoken opposition to gay marriage, and they both suffered backlash from it, not to mention helping to boost Chick-fil-A’s sales. Clearly, the good delegate from Maryland either wasn’t paying attention or has the memory of a flea.
Moreover, both this controversy and the earlier one come in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which treats corporations as individuals when it comes to political contributions. I don’t know about you, but I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that a company’s right to free-speech, with which the court equates political donations, might be protected, even as politicians attempt to stifle the speech of those same business’s employees. For the one thing we should not lose sight of is that the Baltimore Ravens are not just a football team. They are also a multi-million dollar business.
Kluwe’s third point is also well-made. Personally, I don’t understand the fervid religious opposition to gay marriage the way I understand opposition to, say, abortion. If one believes that life begins at conception, then I get why one would be opposed to any attempts to end a pregnancy. I believe the issue to be more complex than that, but, at the least, I get the passion it generates on the other side.
I simply don’t understand opposition to gay marriage in a free society. There are any number of activities that people engage in on a daily basis that violate the doctrines and/or practices of a particular church. I drink so much coffee it would probably be easier if I just mainlined it, despite the fact it violates Mormon practice. Millions of Americans eat between sun up and sun down during Ramadan and just as many eat meat on Fridays during Lent. Yet I don’t see the polite young prostletizers in the crisp white shirts and black neckties attempting to pry the Dunkin’ Donut’s cup out of my shaking hand.
Also read: Chris Kluhe Kicks Serious Verbal Ass—And You Should, Too by Joanna Schroeder