NFL player and human rights campaigner Chris Kluwe has written an impassioned opinion piece in which he addresses the question of why, as a straight man, he supports the gay community.

A punter for the Minnesota Vikings, Kluwe has been vocal in his support for equal marriage, and gay rights, as well as standing up for human rights as a whole.

Writing for the Huffington Post, in the Gay Voices section based around the idea of “fearlessness”, Kluwe starts by saying “it’s the right thing to do”. He goes on to denounce “bullying, intolerance and bigotry”, and condemns those unwilling to attempt to empathise with people in the gay community.

He then goes on to quote a poem by Martin Niemoller, which encourages minorities, social and political groups to stand up for one another.

Concluding, he writes: “Why do I speak out in support of gay rights, of all rights to equality? Because if I don’t, then who will be left to speak for me?”

Chris Kluwe made the headlines in September when he defended Brendon Ayanbadejo, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, against a call from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, to reprimand Ayanbadejo, who recorded a video for a gay rights advocacy group In October 2011.

In a response to Burns, he wrote: “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.”

He and Ayanbadejo wrote an amicus brief, and filed it, urging the Supreme Court to act against legislation preventing equal marriage.

Yesterday, Kluwe joined Michelle Obama, and thousands of others, in tweeting a message of support for the US’s first openly gay player in any major team sport, Jason Collins, of the NBA, who came out in a piece for Sports Illustrated magazine.

The full text from the Huffington Post, on which Kluwe tweeted: “I wrote a thing (on Friday, it went up today, so don’t get your panties in a twist). It has words,” is available to read below:

“Why do you speak out in support of the gay community?”

I’ve been asked this question multiple times, at multiple events, and every time I give the same answer: “Because it’s the right thing to do. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”

A simple lesson, one we all learn in kindergarten, yet one that so many people seem to forget as they go through life; as they become more preoccupied with greed, narcissism, hate, and selfishness.

Such an easy equation, and yet so difficult for those lacking empathy to solve, unable to put themselves in another person´s shoes, failing to comprehend the complete dickishness of their actions (actions they would not want perpetrated upon themselves), convinced of their own smug superiority as they try to control someone else´s life.

Why do I speak out in support of the gay community?

Because the words, “We should round them all up and send them to an island to die,” are absolutely abhorrent to any rational-minded person and should never be uttered by one member of the human race about another.

Why do I speak out in support of the gay community?

Because the actions of bullying, intolerance, and bigotry, actions that have driven (and will continue to drive) young children and adults to suicide, are actions any creature with an ounce of empathy within their soul ought condemn as the twisted depravity they truly are.

Why do I speak out in support of the gay community?

Because I wish to live in freedom, and every time I contemplate that freedom, I am reminded of a poem by Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

I speak for freedom, even though it is a freedom I currently have. I speak for equality, even though I am currently equal. I speak for justice, even though it is a justice I currently do not need. I speak for gay rights and the rights of every person, no matter their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual predisposition, or social or economic status, to live free of the chains of oppression and hate, the barbs of ignorance and small minded fear, because that is the life I want to live – a life where I can make my own choices. A life where I can be who I am, not what someone else decides I should be.

TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED. If we do not make this the cornerstone of our society, if we do not understand that infringing on the freedom of consenting adults to live their lives (in whatever fashion that happens to be) is infringing on the freedom of us all, then we will eventually join other society, culture, and civilization that has ever existed, on the trash heap of history marked “Failure” — brought there by conflicts those civilizations bred into being, conflicts between those lacking empathy and those desirous of freedom.

Why do I speak out in support of gay rights, of all rights to equality?

Because if I don’t, then who will be left to speak for me?