Kluwe promotes tolerance at Mesa

Chris Kluwe shares why empathy is so important in this society

Ashley Madara

Ashley Madara

KC Longley, Features Editor

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Former NFL player and author Chris Kluwe spoke to Mesa College students and faculty on Oct. 25 about the importance of everyone being treated equally as human beings.

The speech was held at the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in Room 435 from 1-2:30 p.m. The room gradually filled with campus residents from all ages, as it got closer to the start of Kluwe’s speech.

Aside from playing football for the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders, Kluwe is known for a viral letter that he wrote in 2012 for the online platform, Deadspin. Titled “They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster,” Kluwe shared his opinions on same-sex marriage and why he believed it should have been legal at the time he wrote the piece.

Kluwe explained that he agreed to write this article because he was asked to help to defeat a constitutional amendment that was up to pass in Minnesota that would support discrimination against same-sex couples. After clearing it with his team, he wrote the article and eventually they defeated the amendment.

“The society that I want to live in is one where if I’m in trouble, then someone who is position to speak out for me will do so and will try to help me,” Kluwe said, explaining his reasoning. “If I’m the one in the position to speak out and do something for someone else, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t do so.”

While Kluwe does not have any gay family members, and is married to his wife, Kluwe recognizes the difference in how he is perceived in society, explaining himself as a “heterosexual white male that’s tall” and that “it doesn’t get much easier than that,” Kluwe said.

“We have to ensure that everyone has the same chance, that everybody has the same opportunity to succeed,” Kluwe said. “If we don’t, that is how civilizations collapse.”

Kluwe believes that everyone should have equal advantages growing up. “Deep down inside, we’re all human beings.” Regardless of any way that someone may identify, Kluwe feels everyone should have the “freedom to live their life free of oppression.”

When asked from an audience member what brought to speak up in support of same-sex marriage, Kluwe said he felt he needed to actually act on what he was saying. He also pointed out that “a lot of people want to talk about these issues, but they might not know how to.”

In regards to his book titled “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies,” which is a collection of short stories and essays, he wanted to continue to do his part in making change. Kluwe’s tactic to his writing is a “well-thought insult and a logically measured point,” making people laugh and remember what he has said, which is similar to his day-to-day diction.

Kluwe also spoke about the media and its impact on issues in this country.

“The media reports horrible things but ways to fix it,” Kluwe said. “It is okay to recognize a problem, but we need to provide solutions too.”

As a country, Kluwe believes we have to want to help each other in order to build a more consistent and stable society. The biggest hurdle to overcome, in Kluwe’s eyes, is political change without violence.

Throughout the years, Kluwe has noticed changes in homophobic language, shifting from derogatory to more accepting, especially on his various teams. He also spoke about how other football players that he knows have wanted to speak out in support of issues over the years, however have hesitated due to their commitment to the NFL. “I completely think that people don’t speak out on the teams because of the backlash they’ll get.”

Kluwe believes that his speaking out in 2012 cost him a “decent amount of years in the NFL.”

Journalism major and audience member Amal Sufi, 22, agreed with a majority of what Kluwe had to say. “You have to make people care about what you’re saying and finding ways to make change, and I thought that was really interesting,” Sufi said. “I just think he’s a very down-to-earth, cool dude.”

In regards to his current and future endeavors, Kluwe is still writing, is currently working on a sci-fi trilogy and is making a card game because he is a self-acclaimed “huge nerd at heart.”

Kluwe plans to continue speaking on issues that matter to him and that he feels are still relevant and important, such as awareness for sexual assault and ensuring people do not normalize it, as well as rape culture.

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Kluwe promotes tolerance at Mesa