Chris Kluwe Gay Rights Activist Signs With Raiders
Chris Kluwe, former Minnesota Vikings punter and one of professional sports loudest gay rights activists, didn't take very long to find NFL employment. Ten days after being let go by the Vikings, the Oakland Raiders snapped up the outspoken special teamer.
Kluwe is a native Southern Californian, so upon inking his new deal he said, "I'm excited to be an Oakland Raider and be playing in California. Now, my family can actually come to games." Upon Kluwe's release, he, as well as certain media outlets such as The Minnesota Star Tribune, speculated that his vocal nature played a role in his release.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has denied that accusation, and claimed to decision to release Kluwe was purely a football decision. The Vikings drafted punter Jeff Locke our of Florida in the fifth round of the just-passed NFL Draft. Kluwe had the best net punting average of his career last season, but was one of the league's worst at placing punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. When asked if he thought his support of gay marriage was part of his ouster, Kluwe said, "I don't know if I'll ever know. I'm not in the [organizational] meetings."
Kluwe has never backed down from his right to speak his mind, and does not believe that his stances should be considered a distraction to his team. "Just as someone isn't going to ask me about what I did with my wife last night I'm not going to ask someone what he did with his husband," Kluwe said. When I'm in the locker room and around the team, I'm 100 percent football. I've always been very fair with my tweets. I never say anything to denigrate the team."
Another outspoken gay rights activist, former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, was also released this offseason following Baltimore's Super Bowl run. Ayanbadejo's release was deemed a financial decision, as the Ravens were pressed up against the salary cap.