Chris Kluwe has been in the news a lot lately, despite that fact that he didn’t play in an NFL game all season. The former Minnesota Vikings punter has spoken out, saying that he was cut because of his views on gay marriage. He called out his former special teams coach Mike Priefer, Leslier Frazier and Rick Spielman. He called Priefer a bigot, and labeled Frazier and Spielman as cowards.
Kluwe doesn’t just stand up for gay marriage, he stands up and yells his opinions from the rooftops. It started last year with strongly worded letters and debate challenges to politicians. Then he made his rounds on television and quickly became the athlete most closely associated with support of gay marriage.
Now after an entire season of unemployment, he’s comparing himself to Tim Tebow:
“As much as we are polar opposites on the things we stand for, Tebow is the exact same way. There are backup quarterbacks in the NFL right now that Tebow is certainly better than. He could fill a role with a team. But because he brings this other stuff with him, just like I bring my other stuff with me, teams look at it like, ‘We don’t want it. We don’t want players speaking out. We don’t want players doing anything other than football.'”
I completely understand and agree somewhat with what Kluwe is saying here. He is in fact very different from Tebow in most all areas, but when it comes to NFL teams not wanting to employee him, the two are very similar. But can you really blame NFL teams for not wanting a sideshow? I don’t.
Football players are paid to play football. It’s as simple as that. If a player’s actions off the field start to draw attention to other areas, then they’re playing with fire. If you’re not a superstar, teams just aren’t going to put up with much. If you’re going to be a distraction (on any level), you better be dang good at your job. The harsh reality for Kluwe and Tebow? They aren’t great at their jobs. Kluwe was an average punter in 2012 and we all know that Tebow can’t throw to save his life.
Kluwe is right. He and Tebow should both still have jobs. But if you’re not great, teams aren’t just going to push aside what you stand for off the field. Especially, when you’re as over-the-top as Kluwe and Tebow are.