I live in Minnesota, which happens to be the home state of the Vikings football team, which happens to be the team of one Chris Kluwe, who happens to be standing near the center of a "controversy" around the audacity of a current NFL player, Brendon Ayanbadejo (of the Baltimore Ravens), who has been vehemently defending marriage equality.
After Ayanbadejo was publicly called out by a state legislator to zip it and keep out of the debate over marriage equality (seriously, are we STILL debating this?), Kluwe penned a now-famous open letter defending his colleague's words and principles. It was both passionate and profane. And I LOVED it.
So while Kluwe has been standing on and fortifying his soap box (through several follow-up blog posts and interviews), I just want to give him a hug (if he wants one) and thank him for being decent. He's noticed that a lot of people feel this way, and he says he finds it "depressing":
I use the word depressing because for that many people to thank us for showing basic empathy, to thank us for recognizing that they are human beings just like everyone else, means that so many other people have not. What that says about our society makes me ill just to think about, and it means that we are failing the American dream.What I love even more than what he and Brendon Ayanbadejo have said is that they keep saying it. On ESPN, in the papers, in local tv interviews, on NPR, and probably lots of other places I am not aware of. And the NFL commissioner, their team managers and owners — as well as many of their fellow players — are supporting them and their right to speak out.
I see this all as a sign of promise, hope, and the chance that another average person, a struggling youth, or maybe even my dad might someday figure out that I and so many of my LGBTQ peers simply want access to the same basic rights as our friends and neighbors. Both Minnesota and Maryland are facing ballot measures to limit marriage via state constitutional amendments this fall. [Note/Update: Thanks to commenters who pointed out the ballot issue in Maryland regards whether to affirm marriage equality, and that it's not a constitutional amendment, but rather a statewide vote on a statute.] I hold out hope that these NFL players are helping the cause, bringing awareness and support from a few of their fans.
And so, in Minnesota, Chris Kluwe just won a new fan. The same way that the repeal of DADT helped me to feel more connected to an institution that I'd once been a part of 20 years ago, I now find that Chris Kluwe's words help me to feel welcomed, invited... valued. It's refreshing, and I'll cheer him on any chance I get.
There's a lot more at this link; I encourage you to check it out.