Never one to shy away from sharing his opinion, Kluwe has spoken out for players’ rights and also about football’s seemingly increasing hunger for more violence. In September 2012, he took to sports blog Deadspin to defend (in fantastical verbiage) Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo when Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. urged Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to stop Ayanbadejo from speaking in favor of a Maryland ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage. Here are five other ways Kluwe is helping kill the stereotype of dumb, meathead jocks:
5 He doesn’t like to stereotype people.
“You can’t label people based on one thing they do,” he said. “I think that’s one of my problems when people say I’m just a punter.”
4 He’s concerned about his fellow players.
But does he think there will be a breaking point for football’s violence levels?
“That really depends on how society values their entertainment,” Kluwe said. “Right now, football is valued as one of the most entertaining sports out there and partly because people want to see guys out there running very fast and hitting very hard. I play football because I really enjoy doing my job well and perform to the best of my abilities. I know for some guys, it’s a way for them to hit guys and not get arrested.”
3 He’s looking beyond a career in football.
“Whenever football’s done that’ll be the end of that chapter in my life and [I’ll] move on.”
Kluwe is also the bassist for Minneapolis alternative rock band Tripping Icarus and, in June, publisher Little Brown is releasing a collection of his essays. The book’s title, “Beautiful Unique Sparkle Ponies,” is also a term he used to describe Maryland politician Emmet Burns in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Kluwe said he hopes it will offer fans “my views on society and the world and a look at my brain.”
And, no, he has no plans to run for political office.
“I’m not a huge fan of politics,” the self-described Libertarian said.
2 He’s fluent in Internese, making him a favorite with the unknown online masses.
But, his online presence and his voracious appetite for reading—specifically sci-fi and fantasy books—help him master the language of the internet.
“Just in terms of writing, the more books you can read, the more expanded your vocabulary is going to be,” Kluwe said.
1 He’s one of the most outspoken athletes ever. But he’s also humble.
“I’m just me and I like to comment on stuff and now it looks like a lot of people are listening,” Kluwe said, adding that his Twitter followers are mostly made up of sports fans, gamers and equal rights supporters. “It was never my goal to be the most out-spoken athlete ever… the rise of Twitter has given a much broader spectrum to talk to people in.”
And while he happily interacts with fans online and in real life, he said he doesn’t have email alerts set up for his name. He trusts his fan base to tip him off for that.