A college football player in the US has spoken out after he was allegedly kicked off his team for kissing his boyfriend at a match he attended.
Jamie Kuntz, 19, who attended NDSCS in Wapheton, North Dakota, was injured, but travelled with his team to a non league match away from their campus.
He suffered from concussion, so was not playing, but filmed the game from the press box, alongside his boyfriend, who is 65.
When the two kissed, it was witnessed by some teammates, and when he was confronted by his coach, Chuck Parsons, he initially lied, and said he wasn’t gay. He later admitted that he had lied, and came out to the coach.
Mr Kuntz, an NFL hopeful, made a statement to NBC news about a meeting between the two, which took place after the match:
“He said he didn’t care what people did in their personal lives,
“But it was a big mistake to do that on a football trip. I said, yeah, I made a big mistake and I apologized again for lying. Then he handed me a letter and said he was kicking me off the team because what I did was ‘detrimental’ to the team and I was a ‘distraction.’”
The college, which Jamie dropped out of, after being kicked off the team, have not made a statement, and have stuck by Mr Parsons.
This has been heavily criticised by many equal rights advocates. Outsports.com reported:
“For context, this is the worst incident of homophobia in men’s sports we at Outsports have heard in 15 years. When gay-positive messages are coming from so many corners of sports, it’s sobering to see we haven’t ‘won’ yet. What’s worse, gay people are not protected from homophobia in North Dakota. However, if someone were to make an ageism case, that might do the trick.”
Critics have questioned whether Mr Kuntz, would have been asked to leave the team if he had been kissing a girlfriend.
This comes shortly after a massive controversy surrounding Brendon Ayanbadejo, a player for the Baltimore Ravens, who recorded a pro-marriage-equality video, but came under fire from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, who asked the team to silence him.
Delegate Burns since admitted he was wrong, saying “Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights,” but not before another NFL player, Chris Kluwe, sent a scathing and passionate letter, defending Ayanbadejo.
Mr Ayanbadejo also Tweeted about Mr Kuntz: “@Brendon310: Have you guys heard the story about the kicker from north Dakota university suspended from team for kissing his partner?”
Jamie Kuntz is hopeful that he can transfer to the University of Minnesota, or Colorado, and continue his football career there.