This week, an individual felt that he was removed from his position due to his personal views.
This individual is not on a reality TV show. This individual does not sell products in stores nationwide that bear his likeness. In fact, this individual had to keep silent for nearly eight months to avoid alienating his former co-workers and to avoid putting a strain on his former employer. This individual was forced to stay silent, despite knowing in his heart of hearts that what he had seen, heard, and experienced was in no way appropriate and deserved disciplinary action. All the time he stayed silent, knowing that the issue was not being addressed.
The individual in question is Chris Kluwe, the former punter of the Minnesota Vikings. This past week, Kluwe wrote an article for Deadspin.com in which he chronicled the eight-month window from September of 2012 until April of 2013 in which Kluwe became an outspoken advocate for marriage equality and had to deal with homophobic coaches in his very own locker room. Kluwe’s article includes direct quotes from team meetings and in particular, paints Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer in an especially unflattering light. Kluwe’s conclusion is that he feels his open advocacy for marriage equality was what ultimately led to his dismissal from the team going into the 2013 NFL season.
Since the article has been published, liberal and progressive sites have hailed Kluwe for his bravery in sharing his story. George Takei of Star Trek fame, who has one of the most popular Twitter and Facebook accounts, called Kluwe one of the gay community’s “staunchest, straight allies”. Kluwe has also been praised for his effort to ensure that Mike Priefer does not get a head coaching job in the NFL. Earlier Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings announced they would retain two high-profile attorneys to conduct an independent review of Kluwe’s allegations. The fact that this incident is even being investigated is indicative of the progress being made in professional sports to eliminate open bigotry toward the LGBT community.
On the opposite of this issue, there has been absolute silence by Conservatives regarding the treatment of Chris Kluwe. Whereas everyone from Sarah Palin to Ted Cruz to Brian Brown and the National Organization of Marriage was up in arms about Phil Robertson’s temporary dismissal from A&E for what they perceived was a freedom of speech issue, there has been nothing from the right in defense of Chris Kluwe. Where are the Conservatives claiming that Kluwe’s First Amendment rights have been violated? Was he not denied an opportunity for employment due to his personal views? Where are all the calls to boycott the Minnesota Vikings for their silencing a team employee for having a particular view on the LGBT community?
You see, conservatives today enjoy the First Amendment when the person in question says something they agree with. Hence the outpouring of support for Phil Robertson. Today’s conservatives, especially the average Fox News viewer, still have the antiquated view that homosexuality is a sin and that it is a person’s God-given right to say this without any repercussions. Never mind the fact that the First Amendment does not protect a person from signing a contract vowing to positively represent a private company. Phil Robertson was never in danger of being arrested or fined for his comments in GQ Magazine. However, as an employee of A&E he did, in fact, bring negative attention to the network which gave them grounds to expel him, albeit temporarily. That’s how the First Amendment works: You can say what you want and your employer can respond to those comments in a manner in which they see fit.
Chris Kluwe’s views on LGBT equality are not in any way representative of today’s GOP. Therefore, in the eyes of conservatives, the Minnesota Vikings were completely within their right to remove him from their employment. There will be no Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz advocating on his behalf on the Sunday talk shows. Obviously, Brian Brown and the NOM crew will not be issuing any statements in Kluwe’s defense. It goes without saying that these people do not agree with Chris Kluwe. They don’t believe that members of the LGBT are worthy of basic human rights and dignity and that they are not “true Americans” like Phil Robertson. It is with this mindset that conservatives see nothing wrong with a team like the Minnesota Vikings essentially firing Chris Kluwe for saying what he said.
For conservatives in 2014, the First Amendment is only there to protect you if you say something they agree with. If you say something that they disagree with, then you are on your own and unworthy of the protections guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we like to call hypocrisy at its finest.