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Gay College Football Player Comes Out — Gets Kicked Off Team

by David Badash on September 12, 2012

in Discrimination,Education,News

Post image for Gay College Football Player Comes Out — Gets Kicked Off Team

Jamie Kuntz, a college football player at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS), was caught over Labor Day weekend giving his boyfriend a kiss while they were alone in the pressbox at an away game in in Pueblo, Colorado. On the way home, the coach pulled Kuntz off the bus and confronted him.Unsurprisingly, Kuntz lied but then, while on the 15-hour trip home, admitted the lie and acknowledged he is gay and had indeed shared a kiss with his boyfriend. The next day, his coach kicked him off the team, supposedly, for kissing his boyfriend during the game, for lying to his coach about the kiss, for being a “distraction,” and for being “detrimental” to the team.

Kuntz’s coach, Chuck Parsons, made sure to mention Kuntz wasn’t being kicked off the football team — his only reason for attending that school — for being gay. But telling his coach a lie, that was a major infraction that could only be resolved by ending Kuntz’s college football career.

How is this coach’s behavior acceptable in modern-day America? How did the university not intervene on Kuntz’s behalf?

“The letter, which Kuntz shared with me, is signed by NDSCS Head Football Chuck Parsons, Dan Savage, yesterday, reported:

It reads in part: “The head coach reserves the right to dismiss any team member for any conduct that is deemed detrimental to the team. This includes, but is not limited to, any criminal charges or convictions; violations of school policies, NDSCS athletic policies, or NDSCS Wildcat Football policies… Lying to Coaches, Teachers, or other school staff [constitute a violation].” The letter continues: “This decision was arrived at solely on the basis of your conduct during the football game… and because you choose not to be truthful with when I confronted you about whom else was in the box with you.”

Coach Parsons seems to be anticipating charges of homophobia when he emphasizes that Kuntz is being kicked off the team “solely on the basis” of his conduct at the game and lying about it.

“It’s ludicrous to say Jamie’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with his release from the team,” said Cyd Zeigler of Outsports.com, the online gay sports community. “Kissing someone during a game isn’t a distraction unless it’s a ‘gay kiss.’ And even if it were a distraction, a slap on the wrist is more than enough to get the point across. Kicking him off the team for such a minor offense comes from one place and one place only: homophobia.”

Other members of the team, according to Kuntz, have been caught drinking, a violation of team rules; one member, a minor, was detained by the police after being found in a 21-and-over club. Some members of the team have “criminal charges and convictions,” according to Kuntz, both misdemeanors and felonies. Another player had a house party that was shut down by the police in Wapheton.

“Nothing happened to him,” says Kuntz. “He’s still on the team. He played on Saturday. I don’t feel that I should’ve been kicked off the team for this. It was a kiss. It was a mistake, but it was just a kiss. We weren’t making out.”

At least one member of the football team at NDSCS agrees with Kuntz. (This team member didn’t want to be quoted by name for fear of damaging his relationship with the coaching staff.) “I didn’t see anything during that game,” the team member told me in a phone interview, “but my teammates told me they saw Jamie up in the press box with another guy and that they were doing stuff. From what I hear they’re saying Jamie got kicked off the team for lying. But if he broke a team rule about lying then I think a suspension should’ve been the punishment and not getting kicked off the team.”

[Bolding ours]

Savage’s report is extensive. There’s one more detail that sadly makes this story not very media-friendly. Dan notes:

One detail about Jamie Kuntz’ story makes it highly unlikely that he will become a poster child for young gay athletes: Kuntz’s boyfriend is 65 years old.

So, Jamie Kuntz is now facing homophobia and ageism. Which is a double-whammy of disgusting. Kuntz’s boyfriend’s age should have little to nothing to do with this story.

The obvious question here is, if all the details were the same, except Kuntz was kissing a 65-year old woman, he’d probably be hailed as a hero among his team, and probably by his coach.

There’s a lot more detail over at Savage’s Slog. Go read it.

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{ 19 comments }

Alex_Parrish September 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

And the lawsuits will begin in 3…2…1… (as well they should) Given the disparity in the treatment of infractions involving other players and the innocuousness of the offense I have no doubt the homophobia and ageism is at the root of this. I predict the school will settle big-bucks on the kid and try to hush it all up 10 minutes after the lawsuit is filed.

Goose09 September 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

I need some blinders, because the world is starting to look pretty shitty to me right about now…

barbonine September 12, 2012 at 11:43 am

Caught by surprise like that by the coach, I'd lie too. It's not a sitch where O HEY SURPRISE GUYS YOUR TEAMMATE IS GAY is appropriate. Instead of blindsiding the student, the coach should have made an appointment to discuss it in private, not outside a bus full of team mates after an event.

Coach ain't long on sensitivity, it seems. Needs a kick in the pants, sez I.

sfgayatheist September 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm

The "he got kicked out because he lied" excuse is utter bullshit. If that had been his girlfriend up in the booth, not one damn person would have asked him about any kind of physical display. He was put on the spot because he is gay and was kicked off the team because he is gay. Anyone care to lay odds on whether or not this coach has used homophobic slurs in the past? Who wouldn't have lied?

scallywagy September 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

What if Jamie Kuntz had been caught kissing not a man but a woman would he have still being dismissed? To be even more blunt what if Kuntz’s boyfriend wasn’t a 65 year old man but a 19 year old boy would that have been more acceptable (despite a bias against gay relations), at least in the school’s mind the relationship between Kuntz and his boyfriend would have been more palatable. But then again why should it ever be the school’s job to judge whether one of their student’s relationship (apart from a teacher at the school) be palatable in the first place?
http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2012/09/college-f

serenaity September 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm

why is he dating a 65 year old ?? He is only 18, even my dad hasn't hit 60 yet and I'm almost 25.

jafeica26 September 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Age is only a number, it doesn't matter what age they are once they are in love. Too many people miss out by setting limits on who they will or won't date be it age, body weight, etc

Coxhere September 26, 2013 at 6:12 am

Whatever could motivate you for asking this question and then following it up with an ageist comment?

DarthEVaderCheney October 22, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Unbelievably, I was chased by a wonderful young man 30 years younger than me! I didn't even realize it! We've now known each other for 6 years and since DOMA is shot to hell, we will be married by December 2014 or before. Life is beautiful. Age is indeed just a number.
Pastor Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain (Ret.)

kalanac May 9, 2014 at 6:35 am

I believe the phrase is "To each their own" :) So long as what you get up to doesn't cause harm to anyone, let it be. It might not be what you'd consider an ideal match, but the wonderful thing is that it doesn't have to be :) You don't find the idea of dating significantly older or younger people appealing? That's absolutely fine. No one is expecting you to. But in return, maybe you could accept others who choose to? Or at least maintain a respectful silence about your distaste.

BubJay September 26, 2013 at 8:46 am

Slightly off-topic, I know, but I love it when people try to sound intelligent by using the word "whom" and then use it incorrectly, as they have done in their letter. And this is a college ! :)

kalanac May 9, 2014 at 6:37 am

Well, him was in the box :D

atunionbob September 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

The coach is the one who needs to be kicked off the team, along with all the other boys who have violated the rules in the past. This is a law suite waiting to happen and I hope it does. It clearly shows discrimination against the boy.

Bronxboy47 November 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

As a single, 65 year old gay male, I can agree with the coach on one point only: Jamie is certainly a distraction. I hope he's strong enough to take this nonsense in his stride.

pugritz November 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm

what was he doing in the press box during the game? shouldn't he have been on the sidelines with his team during the game?

thejaymofficial November 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

People are stuck in there idiotic ways. Grow up and get over yourself. He kissed someone! What's the big deal? It's sad to see when young adults are more grown-up than those more elder.

Ceadrus November 13, 2013 at 6:08 am

Is it just me or does any one else see the pathetic irony of the Football coach being so rejecting of two men kissing and does not see anything wrong with the violence of our culture of two men killing each other with guns? Blood shed is ok? But two men kissing is rejected and Jamie Kuntz is dismissed off the Team? For kissing?

Are other players dismissed when they kiss their significant other? SO the Coach is a Hypocrite AND a violence embracing Neanderthal? I can't say I am surprised at that, it is kind of redundant huh?

Hang in there Jamie, the world is changing and you can count on my support, should you ever need it.

Derek Williams February 27, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Lying is unacceptable, but there are extenuating circumstances, and clearly this was one such case.

titan2panther June 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I do believe that he was punished for lying and I was willing to give the coach the benefit of the doubt and say it had nothing to do with him being gay until I saw all the other criminal offenses and lack of being kicked out of other players on the team.

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