Deadspin raises the blacklisting question about Chris Kluwe

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Tony Nelson
Kluwe: Out of work for football reasons... or his outspoken gay rights advocacy?
Earlier this month, Chris Kluwe lost a tough competition to be the Raiders' punter. For the first time since breaking into the NFL with the Vikings in 2005, he found himself out of an NFL job.

SEE ALSO: Mark Dayton criticizes Vikings for releasing Chris Kluwe [UPDATE]

But it wasn't supposed to be that way for long. In an email to City Pages days after his release, Kluwe said he had a strong preseason and expected to get a shot with an NFL team after week one, when veteran contracts are no longer guaranteed for the whole season. But with week three now quickly approaching, Kluwe is still out of work. What gives?

A recent Deadspin column offers up the elephant-in-the-room theory -- Kluwe, along with other players who are either openly gay (like out-of-work NBAer Jason Collins) or suspected of possibly being gay (like multiple-time NFL Pro Bowl safety Kerry Rhodes, who was photographed last spring embracing a guy and whispering in his ear), can't find jobs because pro sports organizations are still uncomfortable being associated with anything remotely homosexual.

From Deadspin:
Friend of the site Chris Kluwe, who is not gay but has been a loud advocate for gay rights, also can't get work. Statistically, Kluwe was a middle-of-the-pack punter for Minnesota last season. You can perhaps justify teams ignoring Kluwe in favor of seemingly better options. But is it really so hard to see an NFL team looking at Kluwe's high profile and deeming his activism too much of a "distraction"?
It stinks if there's anything to that theory, but you should probably save your tears, as Kluwe's post-NFL life doesn't sound all bad. Here's what he was up to yesterday: Hopefully you found time for a practice a punt or two between virtual crime sprees, Chris?

We've reached out to Kluwe to get the latest information on his NFL job search and will update if there's anything new to report.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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29 comments
Hans Dykema
Hans Dykema

This isn't about his beliefs. His skills as a punter are diminishing as the minimum price an NFL Team can pay him has risen. He just costs more than other guys that have similar ability.

Scott Conrad
Scott Conrad

Get over it already he isn't that good of punter the one we have us alot better much to do about nothing find a new subject

Bradford C. Walker
Bradford C. Walker

Kluwe makes the NFL and its teams' brands look as bad as they really are, so they're shutting him out. No other professional sport, or any of it associated business partners (i.e. sports journalism, marketing (but I repeat myself), retail products, etc.) want a man like Kluwe either for the same reasons. Time to find an individual sport where his skills transfer to, and make his living there instead.

Selena Cripps
Selena Cripps

he has a brain an is scaring people. how many other paid athletes are there that have done WAY worst things than this guy?! think about that that!

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

I'm sure he can make just as much (or could have before Gay marriage was passed) on speaking engagements. The guy can talk the rest of his life... punters in the NFL don't last nearly as long.

Brian Wierima
Brian Wierima

Just doesn't have the ability to play in the NFL...period. Locke already is proving to be a better and younger option...

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

I don't think people had a problem with his stance. He is one of those "in your face" type personalities that will use his intelligence to belittle people even on issues of opinion/philosophy.

Also, he wasn't a very good punter in the past few years. Its easy to sometimes look for a scapegoat, but I highly doubt his stance on gay issues had anything to do with his termination. He cost too much $$ for his talent.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

Of course it does. The NFL is a bunch of macho thugs whose ONLY interest is money. The players are supposed to be compliant morons happy to become multimillionaires in exchange for multiple concussions and lifelong physical disability. Mouthy guys with brains and principles need to be purged before they get the other players riled up. By and large the same holds true for the rest of capitalism.

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

I don't know the specifics, but I am sure if a team signed Kluwe, he would be subject to some veteran benefits that teams would just rather not pay. As for Rhodes, he is 31 years old and in the back half of his career. The Giants supposedly worked him out on Tuesday. The NFL is a passing league right now, so if a GM thought that Rhodes could help his team on defense, they would sign him.

As for Collins, he was always an NBA "garbage minutes" big man, who was on the fringe of the league. It's not surprising that he's not found another team, because his career was most likely over. I think a lot of people were shocked to realize he was actually still in the league when he came out.

Lars Larson
Lars Larson

NFL Punters have one of the most change over positions in the league, I like Kluwe, but he's getting beat out by a younger crop of legs. It's sports.

Lynn Gehrls
Lynn Gehrls

And yet -- Michael Vick isn't considered a distraction and celebrated as a starting quarterback. I'm not solely picking on Vick-- because we all know there are a million other criminals in the NFL. Messed up.

Joe Brennan
Joe Brennan

should change your name to "Chris Kluwe Pages Minneapolis"

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

He's unemployed because there are only 32 jobs, he's not an elite punter and one or two guys kicking for the hundreds of college football teams in America are good enough to make it in the NFL in any given year. Young guys are cheaper. Why pay more than the minimum for an average punter like Kluwe? You don't. Regardless of his politics. End of story. #TweetsAreYours

cultofdan
cultofdan

@Scott Conrad Did you see Jeff Locke punt in the opener. That was worse than any game Kluwe had last year.

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Not when you need more stories for clicks. 24 hour news cycle. Isn't it grand.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@Bob Alberti Donald Sutherland's character in Animal House was a parody, not a role model..

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Players get cut all the time. I don't think if what you say is true about $, that they would cut a successful athlete.

WatusiJenkins
WatusiJenkins

@Bob Alberti 

Well, aren't you just the little anti-American socialist this morning................

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

@ajlalk3 Deadspin was really reaching when it tried to cook up an anti-gay conspiracy in pro sports. But it worked, City Pages, and subsequently you and I, took the bait. #TweetsAreYours

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

@Lynn Gehrls That just proves that Kluwe is unemployed because he's not as good as the 32 current NFL punters. If a team is willing to take the "distractions" associated with Michael Vick, they would be willing to take Kluwe's.

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

What? AP for one. Also, he was in the middle of the road in stats for punters before the vikes dropped him.

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Best comment so far. I think it will be difficult to prove though.

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

@k2yeb if it's a 24-hour news cycle, why doesn't CP post gems like this at night and on the weekends?

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