Chris Kluwe: Gay players would fear coming out because it could prevent team winning
Chris Kluwe has been an outspoken supporter of gay rights, and he has said there are gay players in the NFL. But one thing he believes would prevent gay players from coming out is the fear that such an announcement could distract a team from achieving its goals of winning.
The Minnesota Vikings punter made his comments during an interview with Anita Marks on NBC Sports Radio Sunday. He was asked what would keep an athlete from coming out when he gave his answer.
“It really is the attention issue,” said Kluwe. “It’s the fact that they would be the first person coming out and there would be so much media and fan attention on that player that it could risk them losing their job.
“Coaches are notoriously against distractions in the locker room,” he continued. “Whenever anyone is getting a lot of attention, they tend to look at it as a bad thing because they’re worried that you’re not focusing on football.
“It really comes down to the fact that coaches and the teams are just worried that this might prevent the team from winning games.”
Kluwe believes there are gay players in the NFL based on the percentages.
“There’s definitely gay players playing in the NFL. Simple statistics have said it’s anywhere from probably 10 to, like, 50. You look at the sample size of gays in the United States they’re around 10 percent. With 1,800 players in the NFL, that’s about 180 guys you’re talking about. So there’s definitely gay players.”
The Vikings punter also agrees that the best method for players to come out would be as a group, the way Brendon Ayanbadejo mentioned last week.
“I don’t know when anyone specifically is going to come out, but it would be nice to have guys to come out as a group to lessen the attention any individual person would have to deal with.
“Hopefully someone does come out eventually because no one should have to hide who they are. That’s not what this country was founded on.”
Kluwe’s comments should not come as a surprise. Last December, Minnesota’s special teams coach said Kluwe’s outspoken ways were becoming a distraction. Luckily Kluwe has a specialized role on the team as a punter, which makes it easier for him to focus on his job. If it were a player playing a more prominent position who had to deal with all the distractions, it’s easy to see how that would make a team concerned.