Except, it's probably not. At least not 100%. The issue here is that Chris Kluwe was an eight-year veteran, and last year, he was the second-lowest-ranked punter in the NFL. He's 31 years old, and he was at the end of his contract for a team that had been quite clear about moving out older players for younger performers. While I'm sure that Kluwe's appearance in the public eye, in conservative Minnesota, may not have done much to convince the team to keep him, the truth is that the Vikings could get someone younger for cheaper, who would probably do better. I've been a big supporter of Chris Kluwe for a long time, but we have to remember that he also stopped being good at his job.
|Also, I feel it should be observed that Chris Kluwe is just like,|
My fellow lefties, I implore you: Do NOT try to make Chris Kluwe our Phil Robertson. Don't make "I stand with Kluwe" Facebook posts. Don't create a hashtag. Don't pretend you knew who Chris Kluwe was before the past week. Just do not try it. I know how tempting it is for us to want to put a face to the discrimination (besides, y'know, the literally thousands of actually-discriminated faces), but this is too easily disproven, and in fact plays right into the "political correctness gone wild" stereotype that right-wingers love to throw out. In fact, we don't need to have our own Phil Robertson. We're better than this. We have the ability to rationalize and to look at things in context, and to realize the greater issues beyond the superficial face that we can easily point to.
So here we go. This is a decent opportunity to remind people that there are still 29 states where you can get actually fired for being gay -- not just let go at the end of a contract several years after saying you like gay people. But more important and more directly related to the story are Kluwe's allegations that Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer became a bully to him, declaring that he used homophobic language to him - and worse.
As ESPN's Kevin Seifert observes, these allegations are the most important and interesting part of Kluwe's story if they prove true. Because of bullying and harassment allegations coming out of the Miami Dolphins' locker room, the NFL is already reconsidering and analyzing their workplace policies and definitely instilling harsher policies for unacceptable harassment. When this happens, there will be backlash. The NFL, and professional sports in general, are still vestiges of "old boy" attitudes and many will take affront to the notion that men trained to mercilessly brutalize each other physically may not have to do it verbally. I'm not saying off-color jabs and trash-talk should be off-limits, but I do agree with Seifert when he says "Words are the most powerful weapon in advocating -- and blocking -- social change." A change to the NFL's policies would be a signal of an influential and powerful change. There is a real issue here that Chris Kluwe's rantings may unearth still which we should be focusing on and paying attention to. Let's not hide it behind an easily-disproven story for the sake of having a face to rally around.
|No matter how luxurious the hair|
attached to that face may be.