See the update at the end of this post about an extensive interview Chris Kluwe gave a colleague at a Voice Media Group news site in which the punter cut by the Vikings says, "I wouldn't have changed anything."
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 6, 2:23 P.M.: Chris Kluwe, who these days may be better known as a straight advocate for gay rights than as an NFL punter, was cut this morning by the Minnesota Vikings.
"So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish!" was the first of three rapid-fire tweets posted by the pride of Los Alamitos High School and Costa Mesa hobby shop owner.
Kluwe followed that tweet this morning with: "Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn't have traded it for anything." Then: "And thank you everyone for your support. Remember, one label does not define who you are as a person :)"
The punter received a nationwide following after Deadspin, to which Kluwe had sometimes contributed columns, carried an open letter he wrote to a Maryland legislator who'd asked the Baltimore Ravens owner to discipline a player who had openly supported marriage equality. His line informing Emmett C. Burns Jr. that the passage of gay marriage would not turn the state delegate into a "lustful cockmonster" may have received the most play.
The Weekly's Nov. 1 cover story on Kluwe, which Andy Mannix wrote for his home Voice Media Group paper City Pages of Minneapolis, won GLAAD's 2012 award for Outstanding Newspaper Article in March. The Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center of Orange County (The Center OC) made Kluwe its 2013 Torchbearer Award recipient at an April 20 gala in Santa Ana.
But Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune speculated in print Sunday that Kluwe was to be cut from the Vikings for being outspoken. Kluwe replied that ""the sacrifice" of being cut "would be worth it," reportedly saying:
"Now, I would hope that I would get the chance to play football again, because I think I can still play. But if it ends up being something that costs me that position, I think making people aware of an issue that is causing children to commit suicide is more important than kicking a leather ball."
As you'd expect, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman claimed cutting Kluwe had nothing to with his off-field advocacy: "When we're making decisions, we're purely making them trying to bring in the best competition possible regardless of position," he told the Star Trib today. "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."
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UPDATE, MAY 8, 11:51 A.M.: When Andy Mannix of the Minneapolis City Pages asked Chris Kluwe about his gay rights advocacy possibly playing a role in being cut by the Minnesota Vikings Monday, the punter replied, "I wouldn't have changed anything."
Kluwe also said he expected to be let go. Read the full interview here: