Chris Kluwe: First openly gay NFL player will have ‘biggest marketing opportunity in 50 years’

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Equal marriage advocate and NFL Football player, Chris Kluwe has spoken about the possible marketing and endorsement opportunities, surrounding the first openly gay NFL player, whoever that may be.

Speaking with Bob Costas, on, Costas Tonight, a program on the NBC Sports Network, he said “the first gay athlete to come out will have endorsement deals the likes of which you’ve never seen,”

He likened the endorsement opportunities to those of Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player, in 1947:

“Think about Gatorade, think about Nike, think about those huge companies that want to stamp their brand, their logo on this generation’s Jackie Robinson.  You’re telling me that’s not the biggest marketing opportunity in 50 years?  I mean, it’s huge.”

He spoke about different generations of players, and that he hoped the younger players would bring with them equality and understanding:

“I look at the rookies coming in and it fills me with hope that these guys, they just, they don’t really care about what other people do with their lives because it doesn’t affect them.

“They realize that other people should be free to live their own lives, you know, should be free to get married to who they want because at the end of the day, they’re allowed to get married to whoever they want.

“So you know, I’m hopeful for the future and hopefully we can dispel this stereotype of the NFL being this macho, close-minded culture.”

As well as saying the endorsement opportunities for the first openly gay player would be great, he predicted that the media furore surrounding the coming-out of the first NFL player would pass quickly:

“I think it’s something that will receive media attention for probably a good week and a half, two weeks, but it will die down because people will realize it doesn’t matter what your sexuality is when you’re out on the field on Sunday.”

Mr Kluwe also campaigns for Minnesotans for Equality, and has been regularly outspoken about his support for equal marriage, and equal rights for LGBT people.

He recently made the headlines when he defended Brendon Ayanbadejo, a player for the Baltimore Ravens, aganst a  call from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, to reprimand Mr Ayanbadejo, who recorded a video for a gay rights advocacy group last October.

The Minnesota Vikings punter ended by saying:

“It matters can you play football?  Can you help us win football games?  And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you’re sexuality is.  So hopefully we’ll be able to do our part to create a more welcoming culture so that someone feels comfortable in coming out and one day people will be able to be who they are.”