The debate expands in the sporting arena

I am ashamed for all of Minnesota. Just as the NBA’s Jason Collins stepped forward to become the first openly gay player in the history of professional sports, it is shamefully ironic that the Minnesota Vikings are poised to fire Chris Kluwe, conceivably as punishment for his opposition to last fall’s anti-gay-marriage amendment.

No amount of denial will hide the obvious: Kluwe is statistically the best punter in Vikings history, only now reaching the prime of his career. Vikings officials look ridiculous comparing last year’s decision to release kicker Ryan Longwell (age 37) to a potential release of Kluwe (age 31).

The Vikings — to their credit — have a long history of giving multiple chances to players who have committed an assortment of crimes. Kluwe’s decision to simply speak out on human rights, however, may cost him his job. His position was shared by a clear majority of Minnesota voters last fall. Businesses such as Hell’s Kitchen, threatened at times by a very small minority of bigots, finally broke free and stated their support of GLBT rights, to the delight of throngs of customers.

No other Minnesota business can use an employee’s position on human rights as a reason for termination. Why should a business receiving the largest taxpayer subsidy in Minnesota sports history be allowed to act differently?

Mitch Omer and Cynthia Gerdes, Minneapolis


The writers are the cofounders of the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant in Minneapolis.

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Why are you continuing to print incredibly boring and stupid stories about human sexuality?

The coverage of the November ballot was over the top and all for nothing because majority vote is not a civilized way to decide minority rights. So, we had a mountain of coverage about personal opinions on a subject on which personal opinion has no bearing.

Now we get more “coming out” crap about professional athletes. As if anybody should care about someone else’s sexuality (“NBA’s Collins first active player to come out as gay,” April 30). As if it matters! It’s not news. Jerks.

Shame on you.

P.S. The comparison of a “gay” athlete with Jackie Robinson is deplorable. Any obvious, outward characteristic such as skin color and a person’s inward sexuality have absolutely nothing in common. Jackie could never blend in.

Mark Jacobson, Minneapolis

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Police dragnet

In Boston, citizens too accommodating?

In the wake of the apprehension of the second Boston bombing suspect, it may be time for a serious discussion about the apparent forfeit of our constitutional rights for the sake of public safety. Watch citizens’ video accounts of the Boston police and the FBI as they go door-to-door in Watertown, Mass., searching for this terrorist.

Ten or more heavily armed and camouflaged SWAT-team types pound on a family’s front door, yelling at them to come out with their hands held high. When an innocent Bostonian answers the door, the authorities, guns raised, rush into that person’s home to conduct a complete search. Every man, woman and child is ordered outside, hands high, cops shouting at them to follow orders.

The Fourth Amendment of our Constitution protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures …” Of course, every thinking American wanted this man apprehended. But how could the citizens of one of the most liberal cities in America so quickly give up a signal right? Are we so obsessed with our personal security that we willingly concede our freedom from unreasonable searches?

Mark H. Reed, Plymouth

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Emphasis on defense is a moral deficiency

When I read that the CIA has been secretly paying corrupt Afghan President Hamid Karzai tens of millions of dollars (“CIA paid millions to Afghan president,” April 29), I was reminded of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who said: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

Stephen Kriz, Maple Grove

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It is not, as some say, forever expanding

An April 30 letter claimed: “It amazes me, given the expanding size of the public sector …”

Yes, it would be amazing if in fact the government was getting bigger. But it is not. As reported in the Star Tribune on Aug. 4, 2012, “A snapshot of the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2012 shows that Minnesota state government cut 863 positions — more than 2 percent of the workforce — according to the latest state data.”

Getting better performance from government should start with setting aside the political talking points in favor of facts.

Bryan Haugen, Mayer

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It’s true leadership to look beyond the bell

The April 29 commentary from Minnesota superintendents (“Students need shelter before and after the bell”) addressed a broader problem at the Legislature. Too often, public policy operates in a silo. Life does not.

It’s clear that the superintendents and teachers see the whole picture of their students. That is, the economic issues facing children outside of the classroom. School leaders acknowledged difficult and heartbreaking problems, the root of the achievement gap. This kind of leadership gives me hope.

Kenza Hadj-Moussa, Minneapolis