A young college athlete’s actions snowballed into the subsequent end of his education at North Dakota State College. Jamie Kuntz (definitely not pronounced how it looks) missed out on his first university football game over Labor Day weekend due to a concussion. Instead of playing, he was in the press box recording the game against Snow College in Pueblo, Colorado, when he and his much-older boyfriend of 65 shared a kiss. It was seen by a teammate, who reported it to the coaches. When Kuntz was questioned about the incident, he lied and said that the man he kissed was his grandfather. Feeling bad about lying, he later came clean about the situation. He was served a letter explaining that he was being ejected from the team because he lied about the kiss.
While the coaches and heads of the athletic department maintain that the 18-year-old athlete was not removed from the team because of his sexual orientation, I have to stop and wonder what kind of action would be taken had it been a female cheerleader sharing a kiss with Kuntz instead of his older male counterpart. This situation also made me think of what caused Kuntz to think that he needed to lie about the situation in the first place. Sure, he probably shouldn’t have been kissing anyone in the press box, regardless of their age or gender. But had it been the aforementioned female cheerleader, perhaps he’d have gotten a “hey man, high five, but next time kiss your girl after the game.” Because of the ultra-masculine stigmas attached to organized sports in America, I’m left wondering if Kuntz was hesitant to reveal his sexual orientation due to fear of disapproval.
We all saw Varsity Blues. These brawny athletes are glorified and worshiped in schools all over the country. Girls throw themselves at them, nerds want to be them, and coaches/parents expect astronomical effort from them; sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason, and this one certainly still exists. How daunting that must be for a young man transitioning not only from his home to college life (which is tough enough), but also from public heterosexuality to a semi-private homosexual existence. I don’t want to imply that he wasn’t out of the closet; the Associated Press didn’t reveal exactly how open he is about his sexual orientation. But feeling the need to lie about it, however regretful he felt about it afterwards, is just another pressure put on kids these days that needs to be addressed. He was riding on a scholarship, and stated that once football was taken out of the equation he didn’t have a reason to stay. Poor kid.
Or maybe not? What are your thoughts on this situation? Did he fuck up, or is he being held at a higher standard than his former teammates? Did the punishment really fit the crime?