With the Minnesota Vikings having drafted a punter, the current player in this position, marriage equality supporter Chris Kluwe, sounds a little worried that his outspokenness may cost him his job.
“It’s a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut,” Kluwe told NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk blog Sunday.
The Vikings picked University of California, Los Angeles punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round of the draft of college players over the weekend. Pro Football Talk reports that on Saturday, Kluwe “took a glass-half-full approach” to the move, saying he’d be happy to compete with Locke for the punting job, but by Sunday he was “starting to see the glass as potentially being half empty — and he senses that the buzz word if/when he’s released will be ‘distractions.’”
The blog notes that Vikings management didn’t seem to have a problem with Kluwe’s other “distractions,” such as late-night gigs with his band or his passion for video games, but his support for “a controversial social cause” has the front office worried.
Meanwhile, Kluwe was one of many athletes and others expressing support for Jason Collins, the pro basketball player who came out as gay today. “I’m just happy that Jason is able to be who he is,” Kluwe told Time’s Keeping Score blog today. “This is his story. It’s not my story.” Keeping Score blogger Sean Gregory, though, points out that Kluwe is perhaps a bit too modest, as Collins’s coming-out story in Sports Illustrated gave him a nod. “I’m impressed with the straight pro athletes who have spoken up so far — Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo,” Collins wrote.