Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has said that he “doesn’t feel good” about the fact that former Minnesota Vikings player and gay rights supporter Chris Kluwe was dropped by the team earlier this week.
Kluwe announced this week that he had been dropped by the Minnesota Vikings, saying that “making people aware of an issue that is causing children to commit suicide is more important than kicking a leather ball.”
Many have questioned whether Kluwe being cut from the team was due to his performance on the field, or whether the team cut him because of attention drawn from his vocal support of gay rights issues, including equal marriage.
Dayton cited the team’s use of a fifth-round draft pick on UCLA punter Jeff Locke, and said that Kluwe should have been given the opportunity to fight for the position.
“I don’t feel good about it,” Dayton said in an interview about the Vikings’ new stadium, on Wednesday. “I mean I’m not in position to evaluate the role and their punting abilities. But it seems to me the general manager said right after the draft that they were going to have competition.
“Well, then he brings [Locke] in, he kicks for a weekend and that’s the competition? I mean, I just think sports officials ought to be honest about what the heck is going on. Same way I think public officials should be honest about what’s going on. So that bothers me probably as much if not more than the actual decision.”
In a statement announcing that he would be dropped, the team’s general manager Rick Spielman said that Kluwe was dropped before offseason, in order to have the opportunity to sign with another team.
“When we’re making decisions, we’re purely making them trying to bring in the best competition possible regardless of position,” he said.
“This was just another normal personnel move. It had nothing to do with Chris Kluwe’s off-field concerns, I have no issues if Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion, that’s his right, that’s his freedom of speech. This is just a football decision to bring in a guy to come in to compete.”
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.”
Last week, 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.