Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, whose blistering letter defending gay rights has made him a hero to the LGBT community, says he wrote it because "it's an issue of free speech and civil rights."
Kluwe, whose brother in-law is gay, has been actively involved in the advertisements in support of marriage equality in Minnesota. He wrote the letter in response to Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns Jr. who asked the owner of the Baltimore Ravens to censor players after linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo defended marriage equality. The Ravens released a statement saying, "We support Brendon's right to freedom of speech under the first amendment."
Ayanbadejo is grateful for the support from his teams and others. “Surprisingly, Steelers fans, Patriots fans, Bengals fans, Cowboys fans, people who don't even watch the NFL have all sent me messages saying that, ‘I now have a reason to watch football or even cheer for the Ravens because of your support for equality,' so that feels good,” he says.
Kluwe says he and Ayanbadejo haven't yet spoken, but he hopes to soon.
"I think it's great the Ravens came out in support of him," Kluwe says. "As athletes we have this very prominent platform where we can affect social change. It behooves all of us to do the right thing."
Watch the interview with Kluwe below.