Chris Kluwe continues to be the best person in the NFL, even if he’s technically a free agent at the moment. (We had to google what free agent means, and it’s someone who isn’t signed to a particular team but hopes to be.)
What’s important to know about Kluwe is that he’s a punter, meaning he kicks balls for a living. In the past, he’s played for the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings and — briefly during the off-season this year — the Oakland Raiders. In that time, he’s earned a reputation as a shit-stirring voice of dissent in the NFL’s rigid old boys’ club. In his personal life, he’s a straight, married father of two. But he’s also an unapologetic defender of queer equality, a position that may or may not have cost him his position on the Vikings.
Kluwe recently published his first book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, in which the author riffs on everything from Jesus to — you guessed it — same-sex marriage. The title of the book refers to a 2012 letter Kluwe wrote to a Maryland politician who suggested the Baltimore Ravens should stop linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, another proponent of marriage equality in the NFL, from voicing his beliefs.
In that letter, Kluwe called Maryland state delegate Emmett Burns “a narcissistic fromunda stain,” among other similarly graphic descriptors. Kluwe’s father suggested his son’s letter would’ve been more effective had it not included so much cursing. So, in his book, Kluwe revised the letter to be more palatable to his dad. He changed “narcissistic fromunda stain” to “beautifully unique sparklepony,” and therein found the title for his book.
On Monday, Kluwe sat down with Cara Santa Maria of Pivot’s nightly news show, Take Part Live. The two discussed Kluwe’s book, as well as the author’s gift for colorful phrasings.
“I don’t like lazy swearers,” Kluwe explained. “Anyone can just drop an f-bomb or a shit or whatever… It’s not intelligent, that doesn’t draw someone’s attention. But when you come up with something that people haven’t heard before, then all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Whoa! Wait a minute, what did that guy just say?’ And it triggers the point you were trying to make, because then they remember that as well.”
In response to criticism that he’s too political for a professional athlete, Kluwe said, “You look back at the history of athletics in the United States, and it’s full of athletes who went out and spoke about causes that they felt strongly about. You know, they used their platform to speak out on things they felt they had to make a difference on… When I’m on the football field, yeah I am going to devote 100 percent of my time to football. That’s my job there. When I’m off the football field, I am going to live my life just like I would hope everyone else would live their life.”
If Kluwe doesn’t get signed by another team, we think he seriously should consider moving into television. Say what you will about his punting skills, you can’t deny the fact that Kluwe knows how to deliver a sound byte.
Vote for Kluwe in the 2013 Queerties here.