When the New York Jets released Tim Tebow, few in the mainstream sports and news media questioned whether he was cut because he was outspoken about his Evangelical Christian faith. But after the Minnesota Vikings released outspoken gay rights advocate punter Chris Kluwe on Monday, mainstream sports and media outlets immediately implied he was cut because of his gay marriage advocacy.
In a Yahoo! Sports column titled, “Chris Kluwe’s release by Vikings sends message that gay-marriage talk is not tolerable in NFL,” Les Carpenter simply asserted the “NFL doesn’t always respect reliable players who are role models off the field.”
“Not when those players are smart and have opinions and dare to speak those opinions on places like the Internet,” he wrote, speaking of Kluwe’s advocacy for gay marriage. “In the past year, Kluwe’s activism has gone from complaints about labor issues to the third rail to sports executives: gay rights. Suddenly the skilled punter who tees the ball perfectly for his field goal kickers is the great threat to the fabric of football.”
The punter is probably one of the most expendable positions, and though Kluwe made less than $2 million and would not provide as big a salary cap hit as other players, that does not make the position less expendable.
But that won’t stop the mainstream outlets from attempting to advance the narrative that Kluwe should be lionized because he lost his job because of his outspoken views.