In an op-ed piece on the website Deadspin, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says that he doesn't know if his activism in support of gay marriage was the reason for his dismissal from the NFL team but he's "pretty confident it was."
Kluwe's piece, entitled "I Was an NFL Player Until I Was Fired by Two Cowards and a Bigot," presents the football player's recollection of his encounters with Vikings' ownership and coaching staff as he began throwing his support behind the organization Minnesotans for Marriage Equality and after he wrote a blistering letter to a Maryland politician lambasting him for trying to silence former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo for his support of gay marriage.
Kluwe, who was let go by the Vikings in May 2013, writes about the apparent mixed messages he received from the organization. He says that while the team's legal department cleared him to speak about the issue "as a private citizen" and team owner Zygi Wilf at one point "shook my hand" and encouraged him to continue speaking out in favour of gay marriage, Kluwe alleges that team coach Leslie Frazier told him to "stop speaking out on this stuff."
He concludes, "Some will ask if the NFL has a problem with institutionalized homophobia. I don't think it does. I think there are homophobic people in the NFL, in all positions, but that's true for society as well, and those people eventually get replaced. All we can do is try to expose their behavior when we see it and call them to account for their actions."
In response to Kluwe's op-ed, the Vikings released a statement saying Kluwe was released from the team because of his performance, not because of his stance on same-sex marriage.
The statement says the organization takes what their former punter says "very seriously" and plans to "thoroughly review this matter."