Professional sports doesn’t always have a great reputation when it comes to homophobia, associated more with bullying and perpetuating limited ideas of masculinity. Football, in particular, is often known for the bravado of it’s fans and even studied for it’s relationship to domestic violence. Which is not to say that athletes and their fans are all a bunch of sexist pigs drenched with machismo, but that the culture of sports can often cater to a specific brand of masculinity. But, as Maya mentioned in the Weekly Feminist Reader, this culture is slowly shifting, the most recent example, powerful letter sent last week by Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
He was responding to a Baltimore delegate that had sent an angry letter to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, about linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. Kluwe was not alone in his response, Salon reports that Raven’s general manager supported Ayanbadejo’s right to free speech and the NFL Player’s Association President made a statement against the delegate, calling his demand for Ayanbadejo’s silence “asinine.”
But Kluwe’s response was the most powerful, published on Deadspin,
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
I would say this is not just an amazing response for within the context of sports, but this is an amazing response for anyone committed to equal rights for all. Swoon!
A brave response as well. Does this mark a shift in the NFL as a more inclusive place that values a variety of sexual and gender expressions?