Though Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe have prompted a media discussion about improving LGBT inclusion in the world of football, North Dakota student Jamie Kuntz is having a very different experience. After being caught kissing his boyfriend while recording a game, Kuntz was kicked out of the North Dakota State College of Science, where he had earned a football scholarship. His coaches blamed him for lying about what happened, but players with more serious infractions were allowed to continue playing. Dan Savage hasall the troubling details about this latest incident of homophobia in athletics.
posted by DAN SAVAGE
“I think it’s a transformational moment and seismic shift to see so many folks in the world of sports stepping up and speaking out in support of equality and fairness,” gay marriage advocate Brian Ellner told the New York Times this weekend. “The world has changed.”
Ellner was reacting to the pro-marriage-equality stances taken by two professional football players. Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality for years. But an open letter written by Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings defending Ayanbadejo against an attack from a Maryland state legislator appeared on Deadspin on Friday and quickly went viral. Ellner was quoted in a New York Times piece that ran on Saturday headlined “Players’ Support of Gay Marriage Alters N.F.L. Image.”
Jamie Kuntz was sitting at his mother’s house in Dickinson, North Dakota, when he read Kluwe’s letter. Kuntz is eighteen years old and has been playing football since he was eleven.
“I thought it was a real step forward,” Kuntz said of Kluwe. “Everyone feels that in football everyone is going to be completely uncomfortable with gay people. But people who play football are like normal people. They don’t care, so long as you can get the job done. Not all people in football are homophobic.”
Kuntz’s reaction startled me. Four days before Kluwe’s letter blew up the Internet Kuntz was kicked off his college football team after he clumsily outed himself to his teammates and coaching staff. MORE