On September 7 Vikings punter Chris Kluwe became a cause celebre when his letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. was published online and quickly went viral.
Kluwe posed (shirtless, no less) for Out's November cover and talks to Cyd Zeigler about why taking a stand on gay rights is as instinctual as planting his foot into the ball.
“It’s all about the Golden Rule,” he says. “Treat other people as you want to be treated. It’s that simple. It’s something that needs to be spoken about, and it’s something I can do while fulfilling my job as a football player.”
Growing up in Southern California, Kluwe’s parents preached tolerance. As a tween, however, gay slurs peppered his speech with the same heedlessness as his peers.
“Unfortunately, as kids, sometimes you
don’t understand what your words can mean because you’re not emotionally mature enough yet,” Kluwe says. “As you grow up and start learning about the world, you realize, Hey, some of this stuff is hurtful; I would not want to be treated that way. That’s party of maturing.”