It’s time for a great exercise in the hypocrisy that is political correctness. In terms of the treatment of homosexuals, the pendulum of social acceptance has taken a great swing. Thirty years ago, being intolerant of homosexuals was perfectly acceptable, and while idiocy will never be completely eradicated, tolerance has now become the norm rather than the exception.
However, one of the great way to get that pendulum to swing back is to abuse that tolerance. The case of Jamie Kuntz offers a perfect example. Kunts was a college football player who claims he was dismissed from the team for being gay.
There’s a formula for creating victimhood where there is none, and Kuntz is using it to a tee.
1) The False Assumption: Kuntz Was Dismissed Because of His Sexuality
Even the original story has a hard time supporting that claim, largely because later on Kuntz himself admits to committing a termination-worthy offense, one that is spelled out in a policy document. But the fact that the original story’s headline plants that assumption, and the story’s first sentence cements that.
A concussion kept Jamie Kuntz from suiting up for his first college football game. A kiss from his much-older boyfriend at that game led the freshman linebacker to be kicked off the team, he said.
I love how “he said” is tacked on at the end. That’s not an accident, because the false assumption has been planted and that seed is in a position to make the school prove a negative.
North Dakota State College of Sciences in Wahpeton acknowledges Kuntz was disciplined by the team, but says it wasn’t because he is gay. Football coach Chuck Parsons told Kuntz in a letter that he was removed from the team for lying about the kiss.
There’s an important de-construction of that paragraph which needs to happen here; it contains a big clue as to what is really happening here. First, the school admits there was a disciplinary action taken, but disputes Kuntz’ allegation as to the reason. In fact, the coach, acting as an agent of the school, put in writing as to why Kuntz was being terminated. That’s an important fact because such letters are penned not only as a matter of institutional record, but for legal purposes as well.
2) Lies for Purpose of Shifting the Blame
Not to mention, such a letter is written because there was likely an internal appeals process at the school which would have allowed Kuntz to plead his case to some sort of review board. To this point, he has not done that, and it doesn’t seem as if he any intention of doing so.
Kuntz, 18, and on a partial football scholarship, left the college in southeast North Dakota this month after his dismissal from the team.
“Football didn’t work out, so there was no reason to stay,” said Kuntz, who lives with his mother across the state in Dickinson.
It begs the question; if Kuntz really thought he was a victim of discrimination, why did he not pursue that claim via the administrative and legal avenues available to him? Because he knows that route won’t allow him to hide behind his sexuality. The following two sentences exemplify how he’s doing this.
Kuntz said he told his mother that he was gay at the same time he told her he was kicked off the team.
“I’m struggling with it,” said Rita Kuntz, choking back tears. “I love Jamie and I’m proud of him, but I know what the school did was wrong.”
To be honest, I’m not sure that the mother didn’t know Kuntz was gay before this. Amy K. Nelson’s piece on this issue over on SB Nation leaves one with the impression that Kuntz’ homosexuality wasn’t exactly a secret.
Kuntz had met his boyfriend on a website for younger men to meet older men, and vice-versa. They’ve officially been dating since April, but began their online relationship when Kuntz turned 18 last November. Kuntz is well aware the relationship makes people uneasy, especially his mother, Rita.
That paragraph is just vague enough to where you really can’t tell if the mother knew about this before two weeks ago, but it certainly leaves you with that impression. To be honest, that paragraph by itself doesn’t really tell you much. But when coupled with the paragraphs leading up to that one, the real story behind the heinousness of the lie becomes clear, and it is the lie that is the problem here, as this breakdown will demonstrate.
It’s been a few days since Kuntz’s story was released to the world on [gay activist Dan] Savage’s website, and because his phone number is public via an old YouTube video, his iPhone will not stop ringing, texting … noising. He leaves the phone in his basement bedroom while he sits at his kitchen table to be interviewed. Kuntz sits upright, composed, a tad jittery but always seemingly in control, and ready for what will be thrown his way.
Simply put, he is prepared to defend himself. To wit:
Of course he prepared to defend himself, he’s done it before. Did I wake up this morning in a world where it is impossible to change a cell phone number? I don’t think I did. So, ask yourself…what kind of person leaves their phone number in public view on the internet? The kind of person who wants attention. Which, conveniently leads to the next question.
Why, Jamie, would you even put yourself in the position to out yourself — and at your own team’s football game, no less?
“I didn’t think anything was going to happen. I thought we were going to stand in the press box and watch the game together. I never thought we were going to kiss; it never crossed my mind.”
Color me as officially calling “bullshit.” The simple fact that both Kuntz and his boyfriend were together in the press box meant they had communicated and coordinated to be in the same place at the same time, and you can ask anybody who has ever been in a long-distance relationship…they make it a point not to waste opportunities to “get physical.” So don’t tell me it “never crossed your mind.”
How did you two remotely become physical?
“One of those things; everyone can say they wouldn’t have done it. Everyone can get caught up in the moment, but we got caught up in the moment of being together. That’s all I really can say about it.”
Bullshit call number two. You knew that “moment” was clearly a possibility; you may have even planned it. But more importantly, don’t hand me that crap insinuating everybody would have done it. You are not six years old, the “everybody else would do it” defense doesn’t hold water. You knew perfectly well what you were doing was wrong. That’s why you lied about it when confronted.
You initially told Dan Savage that you just kissed him; what exactly happened in that press box?
“Nothing beyond a kiss, and [hugging]. If I was having sex in the press box, people would have said something, they would have called the cops.”
If anyone asked questions, did you have an answer?
“Yeah, that he was my grandfather.”
To explain why the lie was so egregious, let’s jump back to the official reason why Kuntz was dismissed. Based on the accounts of events that were available to the coach and the school administration, Kuntz’ actions created three problems, which are detailed in the following section.
3) The First Two Points Exist To Obfuscate The Real Problem
First, and foremost, the lie in and of itself was a clear policy violation. In the dismissal letter to Kuntz dated September 3rd, Parsons told Kuntz he was being ousted from the team under the “conduct deemed detrimental to the team” category outlined in guidelines in the team’s player’s manual. Parsons specifically noted the manual’s section on “lying to coaches, teachers or other school staff.”
“This decision was arrived at solely on the basis of your conduct during the football game; and because you chose not to be truthful with me when I confronted you about whom else was in the box with you,” Parsons wrote. “Any conduct by any member of the program that would cause such a distraction during a game would warrant the same consequences.”
Worse yet, the lie was told to cover up an act of dereliction of duty. It is important to note Kuntz was in the press-box to capture game film, which even to his own admission, he failed to do. So, even before we get to the lie itself, Kuntz has admitted that he can’t be trusted to perform an assigned duty. Without the lie, I felt (based on what I knew) this still might be able to be handled with some other form of punishment…suspension, probation, some combination of the two, or whatever other options exist short of dismissal.
The last issue involved was that of Kuntz’ homosexuality and the fact that no matter what happened, we live in a society where “political correctness” would allow Kuntz to easily claim any action taken against him was done so strictly because he is gay.
The fact the school went to such lengths to tell Kuntz why he was being dismissed means the school not only intended to insulate itself against such a claim, but ensured they could defend their action. That’s not a court in which Kuntz can win, so he’s back home and playing to the court of public opinion. Watch the amount of deflection he goes through to minimize the damage the facts do to his claim. This is also the main reason why those who are criticizing the school’s action are engaging in a lot of word-parsing, hair splitting, and the aforementioned blame shifting.
Kuntz said he and his 65-year-old boyfriend were in the press box at the game against Snow College in Pueblo, Colo., over Labor Day weekend. Kuntz was videotaping the game for the team. His Wildcats were down by more than 40 points when “the kiss just happened,” he said. The team would eventually lose 63-17.
“People around here aren’t exposed to it,” Kuntz said of homosexuality. “People expect gays to be flamboyant, not football players.”
The gall this kid has is unbelievable. The fact that he plays to stereotypes to advance his argument is only out-chutzpah-ed by his obvious belief that lying in defense of his behavior is justified by intolerance, whether present or not. Which brings us back to the lie.
A teammate apparently saw the kiss and told coaches, Kuntz said. When Parsons confronted Kuntz on the bus ride back to North Dakota, Kuntz told him the man he kissed was his grandfather.
“I lied,” Kuntz said.
Later, he felt guilty about lying and came clean to his coach.
There’s so much red meat in that sequence I barely know where to start. The obvious point is…for lack of a better term…obvious. There isn’t anybody who has had a real job in the history of real jobs who didn’t know lying to your boss is a really bad idea. There’s a reason why you get fired for it, namely because successful employment relationships require at least a moderate amount of trust. Make no mistake, the relationship between a football player and his head coach is every bit the employment relationship you live through every day with your boss. Whether you are a bank teller or a linebacker, once you burn your boss, your future tends to become another piece of your past.
Let me tell you something about myself. When I’n not penning these rants as a blogger, I’ve spent great chunks of my professional life as a boss. As I rant through this situation in my mind, I kept asking myself what would I have done in the role of the coach or the administration? Was there a way I could have extricated myself, the school, and Kuntz from this mess without terminating him?
No matter how many times I re-ran the scenario, my answer was consistently “yes”…up to the point of the lie. That lie changed the entire face of the issue, and made it impossible for Kuntz to not be dismissed. Once you’ve shown me you can’t be trusted to perform an assigned duty, and then you lie to me about the circumstances, I am left with no other option.
But there’s a big turd in the punch-bowl nobody wants to talk about. The CBSSports piece didn’t touch it; Amy K. Nelson’s piece didn’t touch it. We must not forget we live in the post-Sandusky era, where now everybody’s sexual peccadillos – gay or straight…legal or not so much – are open for public exposure. In any story where there is sex and the potential for even the appearance of impropriety, school administrators are going to employ a “scorched earth” policy because the last thing any of these guys want is to read something in the papers that says “…many similarities to the cover-up of the Penn State scandal…”
And as sure as God made ESPN the home for anybody who knows nothing about sports, the fact that Kuntz chose to publicly canoodle with a 65-year old man didn’t help that problem; in the same manner that a tanker-truck full of jet fuel wouldn’t help extinguish a forest fire. Kuntz himself turned that truck into a ship by saying the fellow canoodler was his grandfather.
Jamie Kuntz said he met the man online more than a year ago. Kuntz said the man, whom he would not identify, lives in Colorado and the two have met there a few times in recent months.
Think about that for a moment if you are the coach or an administrator. Kuntz is telling you – don’t forget this is the post-Sandusky era – that he not only broke the rules, didn’t do his job in the process, and did it all having a make-out session with his grandfather. Think about the questions you now have to ask yourself about when did this incestous relationship start, and did it start when Kuntz was a minor, and what is your responsibility to report all of this to law enforcement? Every football coach and athletic administrator saw what happened at Penn State, and they are not lining up to buy a chunk of a sex scandal of any stripe.
After you’ve considered all that, ask yourself this question: While you are in the middle of these debates; debates which will effect decisions which will affect many people’s lives – what do you do when Kuntz tells you he’s lying?
Despite all that…despite the mountain of circumstantial evidence, and the mountain range of real evidence that Kuntz himself admits to…Kuntz wants you to believe he was not dismissed just for lying.
“I know if it was a girl in the press box, or even an older woman, nothing would have happened,” he said. “If it was an older woman, I would have probably been congratulated for it from my teammates.”
That deflection is the sole of the obfuscation of the facts, because it leads to the following disguised assaults on the school’s decision by inferring the school’s stated reason for dismissing Kuntz is not true.
School officials told the AP that they were investigating whether this was the first such instance of someone being kicked off the football team for lying.
John Richman, North Dakota State College of Science president, said other players have been kicked off the team for various reasons, though he couldn’t say whether any before had been booted specifically for lying.
“I don’t know of every single case where coach Parsons has had to discipline a young man,” Richman said.
What difference does it makes if Kuntz is the first player to be kicked off the team for lying? I bet he was also the first guy to tell his coach he was making out with his grandfather too.
Nelson’s SB Nation article also raises a very good point; it is important to note not only those who are criticizing the school, but those who are keeping their distance from this as well.
A young gay man is out of school and out of football. A team, a school and a community have been labeled by many as homophobic, and even many gay rights groups are keeping a safe distance from the story for fear of what may surface.
“If this happened, I’d want it to be a clean story,” said one sports LGBT activist, who has a background in sports and who spoke on the condition of anonymity. That Kuntz was kicked off, “just because he’s gay, because [then] it’s a clean, easy victory.”
It isn’t a clean story for those who are trying to convolute what it is. It isn’t even a clean story when you think about all the people who will suffer because of Kuntz’ action. We already know this has been an ordeal for all who are directly involved, but what about all the honest, hard-working people who also happen to be gay? Thanks to Kuntz, those people now have another bit of baggage to deal with. At the end of the day, Jamie Kuntz has made it clear he believes this is all about him, which not so ironically is a great reason to kick him off a team. He clearly only cares about himself; whoever else ends up under the bus because of his actions just doesn’t matter.
Having said all that, it is a very clean story in terms of bad behavior and being punished for said behavior. The bottom line: for all the bluster, Jamie Kuntz broke the rules, lied about it, admitted both, and paid the price. That’s about as clean of an ending as you can get.