Minneapolis employment law attorney Clayton Halunen reflects on Chris Kluwe’s dispute against the Minnesota Vikings and how it was a historic case.
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I think the Kluwe case was historic in certain respects. I think it was the first time that a straight ally stood up in professional sports – in fact, I’m certain of it – to advocate for the rights of the LGBT community in particular and to advocate for same sex marriage. And he did that knowing that his career was in jeopardy, that he could very well lose his professional football career. But, nonetheless, he believed so much in this cause, that he did it and he stood up. And, in fact, he did lose his job.
But I think what happened as a result of that, it got people talking in other professional sports. And I think other teams looked at it and said to themselves, “We don’t want to be in this position. We don’t want to be that team that’s engaging in that kind of conduct.” Because in today’s world, I don’t think in the United States it’s accepted anymore. It may be the NFL, but it’s not gonna be homophobic NFL. We’ve got to start changing that. And it’s like one of the last bastions where people still get away with homophobic and very hate filled type of conduct, as we all know. But I think by starting that dialog and getting teams aware of it will change behavior.