Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe Talks Gay Marriage, Speaking Truth to Power

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  • Earlier this week, Minnesota Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe wrote a powerful letter to Maryland state delegate Emmet C. Burns Jr., a vocal opponent of gay marriage.

    Since then, millions have shared the letter online, providing their own reactions, arguments, and thoughts on the controversy. So Shira Lazar caught up with Kluwe over Skype to hear more about his take on the incident.

    Kluwe sprung to action after he saw the letter that Delegate Burns sent to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, asking him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee.” This was in reference to linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo‘s public statements in support of gay marriage.

    “It really kind of struck a chord in me in that it didn’t seem right that he was using his office as a politician to try and stifle someone’s free speech,” Chris tells Shira. “That’s totally agains the first amendment.”

    And this isn’t the first time he’s spoken up about an important issue in the NFL. Last year, Chris wrote a letter calling out someone who shut him down for talking about the Lockout. “It got attention within the sports community,” Chris says. “But it was nothing like this. (Chris actually tweeted a drawing and then a satirical “letter from the commissioner.”)

    And this whole recent debacle isn’t nearly over. “I’m writing up another response right now,” he says, in reference to the Burns’ reaction to Chris’ letter.

    But he admits, “I’m going to run it by my coach first…there won’t be any naughty words in this one.” Unlike his previous letter, he means.

    “I’m a child of the Internet,” Chris says in light of his writing style in the initial version. “If you can’t hold a barbed debate with various epithets that are cleverly constructed, then it’s very hard to be a member of a gaming board.” After receiving requests for a cleaner and more shareable version, he spiffed it up.

    Kluwe hopes not only that the gay marriage issue will come to a resolution for the better but also that we as citizens will come to hold our politicians more accountable for their actions. “We’re the ones that give them the power to do what they do and we need to make sure that they’re responsible with that power,” Chris says.

    In that vein, here’s that post — hot off the presses — that Kluwe said he was working on, in which he writes:

    When did we stop asking ‘WHY’ to our politicians, content to accept a bland and perfunctory “No comment” as a reasonable answer? When did we agree that rhetoric and one-liners would replace reasoned debate and factual presentations?…

    …I implore any and all of you that may happen to read this – ask WHY. Don’t accept a meandering load of nothing, masquerading as a sentence, for an explanation. Look past words to the actions, and dare to question if they don’t align.

    Join the ranks of many who are now following Chris Kluwe on Twitter (if you don’t mind the gaming talk!)

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