By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com January 07 2014 3:09 PM ET
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says there is a double standard in that the NFL will allow players with criminal charges on their records while essentially blacklisting him for being outspoken in support of marriage equality.
MSNBC's Chris Hayes pointed out that two thirds of all NFL teams had a player with a domestic violence or sexual assault charge on his record, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune report printed in 2012.
Kluwe, appearing on Hayes's All In program, responded, "I think it is a problem, and I think it is one that we as a society let the NFL get away with because we're more concerned with seeing players who will entertain us with feats of athletic fortitude on the field, instead of seeing if these guys are taking care of business in their personal life. Are they acting like human beings? I think, again, as a whole, as a society, we have to ask that question: Is our entertainment worth what we're paying for it, in terms of how people are acting?"
Kluwe said he has essentially been blacklisted from professional football, even after trying out for other teams, due to his outspokenness on LGBT rights. He has retained attorneys to represent him during an internal investigation of his claims that Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer created a hostile, homophobic environment on the team. Clayton Halunen will represent Kluwe along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
“It’s obvious to me — as it should be to most thinking people familiar with the situation — that Chris paid a steep price for speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage rights in 2012 while he was a Vikings player,” Halunen told Twin Cities TV station KSTP. “Ultimately it may have cost him both his job with the Vikings and his career as an NFL player, along with much emotional anguish over what he believed to be a kind of personal attack on him for his views on a vital issue of human rights."
The Vikings hired former Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney Chris Madel to lead an internal investigation of Kluwe's charges. Both are partners at the law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller, and Ciresi.
Watch Kluwe's appearance on All In below.