“Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you or act different than you?” – Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wrote to Maryland Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr.
The lawmaker criticized another NFL player, Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens, for supporting marriage equality on Maryland’s ballot. Pro athletes and team officials say attitudes have slowly shifted in a sports culture often seen as one of the last bastions of acceptable homophobia.
“We call it casual homophobia,” said Patrick Burke, a scout for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and founder of the You Can Play Project, which aims to increase acceptance for gay athletes. “Athletes will use slurs like `that’s so gay’ or `don’t be a fag’ without thinking about what they’re really saying. You might think it’s harmless, but for that young athlete in the corner who’s closeted, it’s a huge deal.”
Four states are voting on gay marriage this year. Minnesota’s vote is on a constitutional ban; in Maryland, as well as Maine and Washington, voters are deciding whether gay marriage should be legal.
[via NBC Sports]