Yet many professional athletes are speaking up—both to clear the way for any teammates who may be gay and closeted, and from an understandingof how even seemingly minor acts by professional athletes can reverberate with the public. Tolerance is becoming the message in locker rooms and from teams that recognize they cannot countenance use of pointless slurs like “faggot,” “queer,” and “gay.” Regardless the intent with which those terms are spoken, they classify a group and particular people as synonymous with the lesser, and professional athletes are beginning to understand that.
— Minnesota Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (congratulations on the Super Bowl) in an amicus curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, regarding the fate of California’s Proposition 8.
Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo represent the vanguard of support for same-sex marriage among professional athletes. Ayanbadejo publicly announced his support for marriage equality back in 2009, and found himself at the center of a brew-ha-ha last year when a Maryland legislator wrote the Ravens ownership asking them to bring their wayward employee to heel for daring to have an opinion.
Enter Chris Kluwe, who defended Ayanbadejo in a letter that (a) massively increased respect for punters everywhere and (b) introduced the phrase “they won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster” to the same-sex marriage debate. This also brought Kluwe enough fame to solicit this hilarious itinerary of a day in the life of an NFL punter.
Now these two have decided this is an issue too important to punt (ugh… I feel dirty for that joke), lawyered up (with Emory Law’s Timothy Holbrook and Fish & Richardson’s John Dragseth), and taken their case to the Supreme Court.
With professional athletes, long viewed as behind the times on tolerance for homosexuals (for example, the only NFL player ever to sit on the Court, Byron White, wrote the majority opinion in Bowers), joining leading Republicans in opposing Prop 8, we’re approaching a critical mass of support that no one can hold back.
Except life-tenured jerks espousing Ninth Century morality drunk on their own power. Oh damn.