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In a corporate sports world dominated by controversy-averse players giving boilerplate non-answers, Chris Kluwe is a glimmering sparklepony of candor. The Minnesota Vikings punter is best known for his now-infamous letter to a same-sex-marriage opponent in the Maryland General Assembly, assuring Delegate Everett C. Burns Jr. that gay people “won’t turn you into a lustful cockmonster.”
Kluwe’s devastating takedown, posted on the Gawker sports blog Deadspin in September, generated 2.3 million pageviews and launched the 31-year-old into a new stratosphere of visibility. So much for the stereotypically lonely kicker: Kluwe now has nearly 150,000 Twitter followers (his handle, @ChrisWarcraft, is a nod to his gaming habit) and was even named Salon‘s Sexiest Man of the Year. And be sure to catch him tonight (!) on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. (We’ll add the video to this post once it’s available.)
While Kluwe’s marriage diatribe prompted some homophobic trolling, he says the response to it and his other outspoken opinions on climate change, corporate responsibility, and “stupidity in general” has been overwhlemingly positive, even in hostile territory. “We were at Green Bay,” he says, recalling pregame warm-ups in a nearly empty Lambeau Field. “All of a sudden I hear from the stands: ‘Chris Kluwe, I love your politics!’”
Yet even internet celebs aren’t immune to their boss’ grumbling: In mid-December, the Vikings’ special-teams coach complained that the punter was becoming a distraction. Asked if he’d approached Kluwe, the coach responded, “Nah. He don’t listen.”
Mother Jones: What first prompted you to dive into the marriage-equality debate?
Chris Kluwe: Minnesotans for Equality. One of the people involved with them had been following me for a while on Twitter and figured I would help them out in terms of defeating the amendment, and so I said, “Yeah, that sounds like a great thing.” There’s no reason to enshrine discrimination into a state constitution.