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Vikings Punter, Equality Activist Chris Kluwe Speaks at St. Ben’s [AUDIO]

Chris Kluwe, Photo by WJON.com’s Jim Maurice

ST. JOSEPH – Chris Kluwe, the outspoken veteran punter for the Minnesota Vikings brought his message of tolerance and acceptance to the College of St. Benedict tonight (Thursday).

He says he didn’t set out to be an advocate for the Marriage equality issue, but it has always been something he’s believed in.

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Kluwe has played his entire eight-year NFL career with the Vikings, although his days with the team may be numbered, the Vikings drafted UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round of the recent draft.

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Kluwe says the team owners have been supportive of his activism, but he implied the coaches weren’t.  He says, if he is cut by the Vikings, he hopes to play at least another four or five years in the NFL with another team.  He says there’s at least four teams currently looking for a punter, and whether or not he gets a fair chance with a team will say a lot about the NFL.

Gay athletes in professional sports has been a big topic this week, since the NBA’s Jason Collins came out of the closet.  And that was on the minds of the students who heard  Kluwe speak.  Kluwe says he’s happy for Collins, and it’s a step in the right direction.

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Kluwe says he hopes the NFL is ready for it’s first openly gay player, but it ultimately depends on the owners and coaches.

He says he doesn’t personally know any gay NFL players, but he says “statistically speaking there has to be gay players currently in the NFL”, he says “there’s no doubt in my mind”.  He also says there will be come backlash from fans, and players, but we have to keep moving those strides forward

Kluwe says he has no interest in running for public office, when his football career is over, because he says our “political system is broken”.

Kluwe has been the Vikings punter since 2005.

The organization The Institute for Women’s Leadership brought Kluwe to campus.

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