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01/31/2013

Chris Kluwe, Family Equality Council remind anti-gay sports stars: 'Kids are listening'

by Jeremy Hooper

Reacting to San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, who now says he was just "joking around" when he launched into an anti-gay rant:

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 At 12.14.50 Pm “While he’s certainly entitled to speak his mind, Culliver is a role model whether he likes it or not,“ said [Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe]. “There are kids all over the United States who aspire to be right where he is and he has an obligation to consider the effect of his words. Kids are listening.”

Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler said Kluwe’s honest advocacy is the reason the organization has chosen to honor him Feb. 9 at the Los Angeles Awards Dinner.

“Chris Kluwe embodies the positive values that I hope my own sons and kids across the country embrace in their own sports leagues and clubs,” said Chrisler. “His words have not only encouraged LGBT people, but also the children of LGBT parents who want to feel their heroes support their families. Recently, we have seen other courageous athletes like NBA Nuggets Star Kenneth Faried and Baltimore Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo speak up on behalf of their families, friends and neighbors. This is the type of dialogue we should be having as the NFL prepares to take center stage this weekend for the Super Bowl.”

Perfect response. Whether he was "joking" or not—and it's pretty darn hard to see how saying you "don't do gay people" is anything resembling a joke—the fact of the matter is that it is no longer okay for a public person, in any line of work, to publicly shame LGBT people. Kids are, in fact, listening. This weekend, a whole heckuva lot of kids will be listening. Because of our refusal to take bullying behavior and because of strong allies like Kluwe and Ayanbadejo (who plays for the opposing team in this weekend's big match), these kids will learn that unchecked hostility for certain kinds of people is not a fun past time that one can play for sport.

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