Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ayanbadejo and Kluwe Speak on NPR

A follow-up to yesterday's post: Brendan Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe were interviewed on NPR's "All Things Considered" yesterday afternoon.

Some highlights:
"I've had some encouraging conversations with my teammates, and with people in the building. I'm so glad that it's coming to light and that so many people are supporting it; because you go back 24 months, 12 months, and it was a completely different feel. People weren't so supportive, and I'd hear some snickering and some comments. So, I'm glad that in our football community we're changing. Our sport, that's known as a macho sport, known for, you know, making gay slurs and whatnot, I'm glad to see a changing of the guard, and people broadening their horizons and starting to accept equality, really." --Brendan Ayanbadejo
"The NFL is a business, first and foremost. They're in it to make money. And as players, our jobs are to go out on the field and to play to the best of our ability. Now, that being said, we also have a very unique social platform in that we can reach a lot of people that normally, you know, this message might not reach. I think if you're willing to take the risks, okay, if you're willing to deal with the distractions, while maintaining the level of your play, well, for me, personally, it's worth it." --Chris Kluwe
Toward the end of the interview, Melissa Block asks whether their seniority within the sport -- Ayanbadejo is 36 and Kluwe is 30 -- informs their comfort in speaking out.
"Being players that have had success in multiple years in the league does make it a bit easier, because, you know, we have some of those years when we've got some money saved up; but at the same time, I'd like to think of us as kind of the veteran guys that when young guys come in, you know, they look at us and they're like, okay, you know, that's okay, these guys are talking about it; these guys are supporting it, you know. We're okay with it. And just make the league a better place then when we came in." --Chris Kluwe
"We're trying to change the whole attitude that's in the locker room. And I think we've done it. One of the biggest, you know, compliments that I get -- I kind of don't like it, but it's also a compliment -- is, 'Oh, I wouldn't expect a football player to be talking about marriage equality.' But why not? We're no different than anybody else. We laugh; we cry; we have emotions. Just because we play football, it doesn't mean that we're these quote-unquote macho guys or whatever. I mean, we want everyone to be treated within our organizations and within our sport. We're trying to get that done, and I think Chris has done a great job of showing what kind of people we are." -- Brendan Ayanbadejo

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