The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Texans owner Bob McNair crushed by Chris Kluwe over his contribution to anti-LBGT group

(Eric Christian Smith/AP)
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Last week, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair dropped $10,000 into the coffers of a group dedicated to defeating a Houston equal-rights ordinance that would offer non-discrimination protections to, among other groups, gay and transgender residents.

McNair’s support for the ordinance, which is up for repeal on the ballot next month, did not escape the attention of former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, an outspoken equal-rights advocate who rather effectively obliterated McNair in an open letter published on’s The Cauldron.

“Surely,” I said to myself, “one of the NFL’s thirty-two owners, businessmen with more accumulated wealth than most third world nations and completely vested in the well-being of the society that afforded them such success … surely this man could not be a pants-on-head, cowhumping glue-huffer stupid enough to buy in on clearly outdated ideals of bigotry and intolerance?”
Sadly, however, it appears I must hide my livestock, because the facts do not lie. You have, indeed, donated $10,000 to a cause whose sole purpose is to denigrate a specific group of American citizens. Which begs the question — WHY?
Why does the idea of LBGT individuals enjoying the same rights and protections as everyone else fill you with such hatred, such loathing, that you would voluntarily choose to make their lives even more difficult than the prejudice they’ve faced for decades? Is it too much time spent watching your vanity sports purchase fail to accomplish anything more meaningful than a JJ Watt cellphone commercial that hardens your heart towards those facing a drastically elevated risk of suicide compared to the general population?

McNair has been a frequent donor to the GOP and his $10,000 check “was very exciting for us,” Campaign for Houston spokesman Jared Woodfill told the Houston Chronicle. It was something else to Kluwe, the former Minnesota Vikings punter who reached a settlement last year with the team over his allegations of homophobic behavior. The Vikings announced a $100,000 contribution to charities that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender causes and will make additional contributions to five LGBT-friendly charities over the next five years. The team will also increase sensitivity training. Kluwe said he received no money in the settlement.

Kluwe was also outspoken when Michael Sam became the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, which initiated a PR effort to welcome him and other gay players into the league. Kluwe raised the question of where NFL owners end and the NFL begins.

It seems to me — and this is just pure conjecture, a hypothetical, if you will — that your donating to an anti-equal rights group just miiiiiiiiight make people think twice about whether the NFL really means what it says on this issue. Like that time in Arizona, when the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (another attempt by some of history’s cockroaches masquerading as people to curtail the freedoms of others) got shot down because the NFL stepped in and said they weren’t okay with blatant discrimination in a state in which they operate.

Supporters of the ordinance warn that repealing the law could damage the city’s economy and could jeopardize high-profile events such as Houston’s 2017 Super Bowl.

[The NFL has flexed its muscle and moved a Super Bowl before…]

Indiana quickly found out about the power of sports teams when many threatened to pull events out of Indianapolis over the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In the case of McNair, Kluwe sees hypocrisy.

How are we supposed to believe the NFL is doing anything but callously trying to market their wares in a shameless display of pandering; much like breast cancer awareness month, where pink and profits are everywhere, but actual donations are not? Why, Bob, based on your actions, would we do anything other than surmise that your league has no actual intention of helping the LBGT community?

Over to you, Bob.