by Mitch Perry
If you don't think so, read former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe's piece in Deadspin posted last Thursday that has become an Internet sensation.
Called "I Was An NFL player Until I Was Fired by Two Bigots and a Coward," Kluwe writes about how he is "confident" that his outspoken advocacy for same-sex marriage was the reason the Vikings cut him from their roster last year after eight strong seasons as their punter.
Now Equality Florida, the leading LGBT group in the state, is calling on its members to Kluwe send a letter supporting him for his "forceful, passionate, and fearless voice" on the issue.
Shortly after Kluwe's post went viral, the Vikings responded in a press release, where they said that "Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance."
The 31-year-old Kluwe ranked 17th among punters in the 32-team league, averaging 39.7 net yards per punt. This season, the Vikings' Jeff Locke, a fifth-round draft pick, was 18th with a 39.2 yard average.
Kluwe has been one of two NFL players who have prominently spoken out in support of same-sex marriage in the past couple of years as more states have legalized it. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo also made news in recent years with his strong support for same-sex marriage (Ayanbadejo said last week that Kluwe was "100 percent right" in his belief that he was cut because of his views). Ayanbadejo last played in the NFL.
Here's Equality Florida's letter:
Dear Chris Kluwe,
Thank you for being a leader to all straight allies by standing up for LGBT equality even in the face of adversity. Your voice has not only made a difference in the realm of professional sports, but in providing all straight allies with the courage to stand up and fight for what is right. In your post on the website Deadspin you wrote, "Never be afraid to do what's right. If no one ever says anything, nothing ever changes." These are words we hope to live by and words that continue to inspire us in our fight for full equality.