When it comes to football, punters are usually the silent player on the field. They come in, kick a ball, and leave again, seldom drawing much attention unless the kick goes out of bounds.
But Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe made quite an impact last week, when he sent an email to Maryland Democrat Emmett C. Burns Jr., criticizing Burns’s remarks that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo shouldn’t be allowed to speak out in favor of gay marriage and the Raven’s organization should stop Ayanbadejo from making more political statements along that line.
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
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Yet as much as Kluwe’s colorful and passionate advocacy has drawn national attention, one outlet has remained conspicuously silent about his remarks–his team’s state’s largest newspaper. With Minnesotans preparing to vote on a ballot amendment that would forbid same sex couples from legal marriage, as well as a chance to write about the state’s largest and most popular sports team on the weekend of the NFL season opener, the news blackout seems peculiar to say the least.
The Vikings, meanwhile, won their first game yesterday, a good start for a team who had only three wins last season. Kluwe held the ball on the game winning punt during overtime. His praise of the team’s rookie kicker made the news. His views on gay marriage did not.