CNN's Costello Mourns Gay Rights Advocate Being Cut From NFL Team

CNN's Carol Costello didn't hide her feelings Monday after NFL punter and gay rights advocate Chris Kluwe was cut from the Minnesota Vikings.

Costello tweeted "Chris Kluwe cut from Vikings. Sad!" on Monday afternoon, and followed up with a link to the story. "I am so sad," she lamented. Kluwe received media attention last year for his outspoken advocacy on behalf of gay NFL players, and last week Costello hosted him on CNN to talk about gay NBA player Jason Collins.

On Wednesday May 1, Costello mentioned that the Vikings had drafted a punter out of college and asked Kluwe if he faced being cut simply because of his advocacy. "Do you think they might move in that different direction because you've spoken out so passionately in support of issues like gay rights?" she asked Kluwe.

Kluwe himself had previously speculated that as a possibility, and Costello quoted him: "[T]he Vikings drafted a new punter and a lot of people are speculating he could be your replacement. In fact you yourself told NBC Sports, quote, 'It's a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrest, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut.' Can you expound on that?"

Kluwe was much more restrained in his CNN interview, however, refusing to give any reason for the Vikings' decision. Costello, an admitted Detroit Lions fan, would like to see Kluwe in a Lions jersey this season.

Below is a transcript of the segment that aired on CNN Newsroom on May 1 at 9:12 a.m. EDT:

CNN
NEWSROOM
5/1/13
9:12 a.m. EDT

CAROL COSTELLO: Among Collins' supporters is NFL player Chris Kluwe, he's a punter for the Minnesota Vikings. Kluwe has been an outspoken supporter for gay rights. He tweeted Collins after his announcement saying, "Big kudos to Jason Collins. Living proof that your sexuality has nothing to do with your athletic ability." Chris Kluwe joins me now live from Minneapolis. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS KLUWE, punter, Minnesota Vikings: Good morning. How's it going?

COSTELLO: It's good. Thanks for being with us this morning. We appreciate it. Do you think it'll be easier now for other gay athletes to come out?

KLUWE: Well, I think a lot of people are going to be watching and waiting to see what happens with Jason Collins. You know, is he allowed a fair chance to compete with other teams? That's going to be the question.

COSTELLO: Do you think someone will sign him? He obviously wants to continue playing.

KLUWE: Yeah. And I think he just wants the chance to compete on a level playing field. I mean he doesn't want to be known as the gay athlete. He just wants to be known as an athlete. This is just part of who he is.

COSTELLO: The Vikings – and this is on a slightly different topic – the Vikings drafted a new punter and a lot of people are speculating he could be your replacement. In fact you yourself told NBC Sports, quote, "It's a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrest, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut." Can you expound on that?

KLUWE: Well, you know, all I can do is go out and punt to the best of my ability, and trust in my body of work which has been very good over the years. And unfortunately, you know, sometimes I guess that's the nature of this business, that, you know, if they want to move in a different direction that's where they're going to go.

COSTELLO: Do you think they might move in that different direction because you've spoken out so passionately in support of issues like gay rights?

KLUWE: I honestly don't know on that one. I'm not in the meetings. I don't -- you know, I don't know what's said in there. I don't know what the rationales are. So again, all I can do is hopefully do my best and, you know, have a chance to punt.

COSTELLO: But you do have a suspicion that that might be a reason?

KLUWE: Well, I mean, like I said, I don't know. I'm not in those meetings.

COSTELLO: All right. Chris Kluwe, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014