Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a business decision is just a business decision. Like the Vikings cutting punter Chris Kluwe. Kluwe is an aging, expensive, mediocre performer, and the Vikings just drafted a new punter.
But to John Becker at the Huffington Post, there must be something darker at work. Kluwe is an outspoken gay marriage supporter. Becker is an “LGBT activist, writer and blogger.” And according to Becker, “word on the street is that the decision to drop Kluwe is at least partially due to his outspoken support for and advocacy on behalf of marriage equality.”
Word on what street? Admittedly, it’s difficult for liberals in general and self-described activists in particular not to see the world through the lens of their pet issues, but the NFL is big business.
Becker cited Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who wrote, “It's naive to think the move is based solely on Kluwe’s age (31), salary ($1.45 million) or how he performed last season (inconsistently).” Well when you put it that way, there must be something nefarious going on. Why else would they cut a punter who earned more and performed worse than average?
Becker continued, “Kluwe's pink slip comes one month after fellow athlete ally [gay marriage supporter] Brendon Ayanbadejo was cut by the Baltimore Ravens.”
Coincidence? Becker thinks not!
“Call me skeptical,” he wrote, “but I'm having a hard time believing that Ayanbadejo's outspoken support for marriage equality and LGBT rights didn't factor into the Ravens's decision to let him go.” And indeed, cutting a 36-year-old backup special teams player who makes nearly $1 million a year reeks of homophobia.
Becker is far from alone in projecting his obsession onto sports. The media in general and the sports media in particular have long pined for open homosexuals in sports. When NBA player Jason Collins announced he is gay last week, the only think missing from ABC’s coverage was confetti and party favors. And Washington Post readers who registered anything less than enthusiastic approval for Collins’ lifestyle were sneered at as “religious zealots” and ‘bigots,” by a sports columnist.
If Robert Griffin III comes out for gay marriage and the Redskins suddenly trade him for some draft picks, Becker can righteously scream from the rooftops. But that’s not going to happen, because that’s not how the NFL works. Sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar.