Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chris Kluwe

Hi friends!

I'm sorry I've been MIA for the last...month. Yikes. Worst blogger ever award, can I get a what whaaaaaat!?! I can't wait to post all about my Europe trip this Christmas, but there are some things happening in the news in my community that I'm a little fired up about. 

For those of you not from the Twin Cities/Minnesota/don't care about football, there is a scandal unfolding regarding alleged homophobic comments by one of the members of the Minnesota Vikings (my team that I DIE HARD support) coaching staff to our former punter, Chris Kluwe. For those of you who don't know of Chris, you should probs follow his ass on twitter at the very least. He is hilarious. I've always admired him, and then last year, he became an outspoken advocate for same-sex marriage, an issue very near and dear to my heart, as I have many GLBTQ friends and family members. He wrote this commentary for Deadspin this past Thursday, and the drama continues to unfold.

I’ve been really struggling with this information in the past few days, since I support the Vikings as if they were my children and I was their Dance Mom. If these allegations prove true, I don’t know if I will be able to continue to be a Vikings fan. I know that might seem silly or melodramatic, but humor me. Think of something you are most OBSESSED with. Like your mood swings based on it, you get completely caught up in it, you drop too much money on it OBSESSED. Well, that’s me with the Vikings. Some girls are obsessed with the Bachelor or Starbucks coffee or running marathons and I’m obsessed with the Vikings. Nerdy but true.

Anyways, today I wrote an OpEd about this whole incident and submitted it to the Star Tribune, the largest newspaper in Minnesota. I’m sure it won’t be published, but what matters to me is that I wrote it and voiced my opinion and advocated for justice and equality. I thought I’d share it on my blog.

Disclaimer: I recognize that not everybody is supportive of same-sex marriage or tolerant of GLBTQ people. I try to respect that. But please know that this is a deeply personal and emotional issue for me, as I have several close friends and family members who are gay and have faced discrimination based on their sexual identity. So please respect my opinions; I will delete any offensive or bigoted comments as they may offend my loved ones.

Here is my OpEd piece:

As a die-hard Vikings fan, I find the events surrounding the Chris Kluwe scandal to be quite troubling. I have been a Vikings fan my entire life—Vikings football is my religion, not just on Sundays, but as my friends know, my mood can swing back and forth based on my team’s performance. I am not a fair weather fan. I, like so many other Vikings fans, have stuck by my team through bad seasons, bad games, and bad decisions, knowing that the Vikings’ good times will be worth the heartache. I have defended my friends in purple with tenacity. It is with this love for the Vikings that I struggle today in the wake of Chris Kluwe’s allegations. I now face the reality that I may not be able to morally accept the Vikings as an organization and a representation of the great state of Minnesota.

I know from firsthand experience that football is one of the most homophobic and sexist industries. I have been witness to situations reminiscent of those Kluwe describes and I know I am not alone. Although there is no assurance at this point that Kluwe’s allegations are true and unexaggerated, I believe they are. Kluwe, by posting the article on Deadspin, unfortunately cemented his status as a retired NFL player, as it is unlikely that another team will sign him now. Because of this, I feel that he has no motivation to tell anything other than the truth. The language used by Mike Priefer as quoted by Kluwe is nothing short of bigotry in the more despicable sense. The allegations of intolerance are embarrassing, especially given that Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage on May 14th, 2013.

The negative reactions against Kluwe that I have seen on Facebook and Twitter, some by members of the Vikings organization and other Vikings-related public figures, appear to condone the alleged behavior by one of the team’s leaders. Paul Allen, the Vikings radio commentator on KFAN, writes on his blog that, “If it is proven what Kluwe accuses Priefer of saying is accurate then obviously the team will have to deal with it, but my friendship with Mike will not change.” Furthering Allen’s own religious agenda, he goes on to say that, “Even if it is proven out he said what Kluwe claims I would forgive him because, again, in my world only One can judge, and it's not me.” By using a Vikings-related public media outlet to sing Priefer’s praises, Allen has said that he (and presumably others within the organization) would continue to think Priefer is “a good man” regardless of comments that are homophobic, offensive, and absolutely deplorable.

It seems Kluwe’s use of the words “bigot” and “coward” with regards to Frazier, Spielman, and Priefer have struck nerves with many conservatives. Although those are strong words, Kluwe likely did not use them lightly. If Kluwe’s allegations prove true and Priefer did say that, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” then he deserves to be called a bigot, and worse. Because using language like that is nothing short of abhorrent bigotry and has no place in our society, let alone in the Minnesota Vikings lockeroom.

In a world where suicide rates among GLBTQ youth are sky high and intolerance plagues the lives of our fellow Minnesotans, I hope that the Minnesota Vikings think about what kind of message they want to send to the community. Chris Kluwe is simply an advocate for human rights—a fellow “straight but not narrow” ally like myself who sees atrocities against fellow humans and strives to promote equality. Much like Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings have an opportunity to make a positive impact in the community and offer hope rather than fear and shame to both GLBTQ and straight individuals alike. I hope that the investigation is carried out fairly and thoroughly, and that if the allegations against Priefer prove true, the organization reacts with a punishment to fit the crime. If not, the Minnesota Vikings will likely lose me as a die-hard fan, and I can imagine I will not be the only one donating my jerseys to Goodwill.

Paul Allen’s blog:

Chris Kluwe’s Twitter:

Also, Kluwe wrote a book I have not yet read but can’t wait to read, and you can find it here.