The Man, the Myth, the Sparklepony: Chris Kluwe

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Kluwe as a Viking and outspoken advocate for gay rights

This week Redskins super star QB, Robert Griffin III, in an interview with GQ magazine said he feels the “window is now” for gay players.

“I think there are [gay players] right now, and if they’re looking for a window to just come out, I mean, now is the window,” said Griffin, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery.

“My view on it is, yes, I am a Christian, but to each his own. You do what you want to do. If some Christians want to look at being gay as a sin, then thinking about other women, committing adultery—or any of those other sins that are in the Bible—those are sins, too. And God looks at all of us the same way.”

One longstanding advocate for gay rights is another NFL Player – Chris Kluwe. Trying to describe or categorize Chris Kluwe is nearly impossible.

Who is Chris Kluwe ? More like who isn’t Chris Kluwe. The funny man author, human rights activist, husband, part-time gamer, and full-time father also happens to be a punter in the NFL.

Kluwe first received an abundance of attention after writing a colorful letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns in support of NFL linebacker Brandon Ayanbadejo and openly supporting the issue of gay marriage. The controversial letter caused a stir on twitter and various other blog sites and eventually inspired Kluwe to write a book entitled; Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities.

Empathy is a word that Kluwe feels we should all use more often. The word can simply be defined as “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This is something that we learn at a very young age but as we get older seem to forget. With his book Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities, Kluwe focuses in on empathy and “considering the long term consequences of your actions.”  During his interview with The Couch, Kluwe described the book as “a snap shot into [his] mind and are things [he] thinks about and things [he] thinks are really important”

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Vikings, Chris Kluwe

Kluwe himself has a wife and two daughters and is straight, however he is a big activist for gay rights. Through his ability to be outspoken, he is becoming one of the leading gay rights activist in professional sports. During an interview with Conan O’Brien, Kluwe expresses it is more as a human rights issue and that if societies cannot find empathy on a human right issue eventually that society falls.

After an eight year run with the Minnesota Vikings, Kluwe was eventually released from the team. Rumors swirled around that he might have been cut because of the attention brought to him and the team after his comments made about gay marriage. However destiny may have found its way into Kluwe’s hands as the Oakland Raiders have picked him for this upcoming year. The Oakland Raiders have a history for human right activist, as they were one of the first NFL teams to hire an African American coach; Art Shell. The Raiders also are known for attracting flamboyant athletes to play for them so Kluwe will fit in perfectly.

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One of Kluwe’s passion is gaming

Although Kluwe love’s playing football, he describes it as something that helps fund his nerdy hobbies. One of his other passions is gaming. At one point in his life he was ranked 3rd in the world in “dungeon progression” for the game World of Warcraft. Kluwe explained during an interview with Conan O’Brien, that the only time he ever dropped the “I am an NFL player” card was when he was applying to get into a raiding guild he really wanted to get in to. His passion for gaming may even surpass his love for football but that is just one of the reasons that makes Chris Kluwe one of the more interesting men in professional sports.

Chris Kluwe is a definite positive role model for young athletes. As Kluwe says, “as role models, [athletes] should be good role models not bad role models.” Standing up for what is right may be hard to do especially when you are one of few people in the same category who think alike.

Kluwe, whose gay activism has won him fans far outside the football universe, also made a bold claim about gays in the NFL.

“As a professional football player, whether you know it or not, you have played either with or against a gay player,” he said. “I guarantee that you have.”

If there is any lesson to be taken out of Kluwe’s life or his book, it is to remember what our kindergarten teachers taught us all so long ago. Follow the golden rule, and treat others as one would like others to be treated.

A portion of Kluwe’s interview with Conan O’Brien:

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