Punter Chris Kluwe has been a lightning rod for both high praise and scathing criticism not for his on-field performance, but for his outspoken views on social issues, particularly gay rights.
Kluwe has said that he believes his views, not his punting, are what ended his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings and are the reason for his failure to latch on with a new NFL team. In this way, the punter said Thursday night on Olbermann, he and Tim Tebow are very similar.
“As much as we are polar opposites on the things we stand for, Tebow is the exact same way,” Kluwe said, via Pro Football Talk. “There are backup quarterbacks in the NFL right now that Tebow is certainly better than. He could fill a role with a team. But because he brings this other stuff with him, just like I bring my other stuff with me, teams look at it like, ‘We don’t want it. We don’t want players speaking out. We don’t want players doing anything other than football.’”
Kluwe and Tebow contended for roster spots during the preseason — with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots, respectively — but both were released and haven’t played a down this season. Though the causes the two players champion are drastically different, Kluwe said that any non-franchise player who might be viewed as a distraction will have a very difficult time succeeding in the NFL.
“I think anyone speaking up about anything, the NFL is kind of like, ‘You might alienate a portion of our market, so don’t do that. Just be football. Just be football,’” Kluwe said.
Check out Kluwe’s full interview in the video below.