A North Dakota college football player claims that his coach kicked him off the team after he was seen kissing his boyfriend during a game.
According to LGBT activist Dan Savage, North Dakota State College of Science student Jamie Kuntz traveled with his team to a game against Snow College in Pueblo, Colo. over Labor Day Weekend. Though 18-year-old Kuntz was not scheduled to play the day due to a previous injury, he filmed the game from the press box while sitting with his boyfriend.
"We were getting destroyed," Kuntz told Savage. "The game was a total blowout. And I guess I got bored and so I kissed my boyfriend and some of my teammates saw us."
Still, a number of media outlets including Outsports are drawing attention to another point: Kuntz's boyfriend happens to be 65 years old. Still, Kuntz told HuffPost Gay Voices in a telephone interview that he believes it was solely a matter of homophobia rather than ageism: "I don't think it matters how old he is. If it would've been an older woman, I would've been congratulated for it."
Outsports' Jim Buzinski, who spoke with Kuntz last week, reports that Chuck Parsons, the head football coach at the North Dakota State College of Science, confronted about Kuntz about the kiss while returning to North Dakota on the bus. Kuntz reportedly lied at first, telling Parsons the man he was kissing was his grandfather. He later told his coach that he was gay in a text message, and apologized for lying.
“He said he didn’t care what people did in their personal lives, but it was a big mistake to do that on a football trip," Kuntz recalled to Savage. After Kuntz says he apologized a second time, Parsons handed him a letter dismissing him from the team, calling the player's actions "detrimental" and a "distraction."
As Savage also reports, other members of Kuntz's team have been caught drinking, while others have “criminal charges and convictions," yet remain on the team. "I really didn't even think anyone was looking in the press box, and I don't even know why anyone would be looking in the press box while they were playing the game," Kuntz told HuffPost Gay Voices.
Officials at North Dakota State College of Science, where Kuntz has since withdrawn, have yet to comment on the case. Meanwhile, Kuntz said he hopes to transfer to a new school, possibly the University of Minnesota or the University of Colorado, in time for the spring semester.
"I want to go to a bigger city for a fresh start," Kuntz said. Although Kuntz was not out to his family and many of his friends, he said all have been very supportive: "The only thing my mom is struggling with is the age of my boyfriend, but that's understandable. She'll get used to it eventually."
The case comes just as Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe have publicly expressed their support for gay marriage.
"I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won't come into your house and steal your children," Kluwe wrote in an open letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr. after Burns himself sent a letter to Ravens owner Steve Biscotti expressing his disdain for Ayanbadejo's support for same-sex marriage. "You know what having these rights will make gay Americans? Full-fledged citizens, just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that that entails."