Is it okay to dismiss someone from a college football team for publicly kissing his 65-year-old boyfriend? What about if that person initially lied and claimed that the boyfriend was actually his grandfather?
One of those two things got Jamie Kuntz kicked off his team recently. Which one? Well, that depends on whose version of the story you want to believe.
Kuntz, 18, claims that he was kicked off North Dakota State College of Sciences’s football team when his teammates and coaches discovered that he was gay. According to his account of what happened, an ill-timed public display of affection between him and his ancient boyfriend during a Labor Day Weekend game created a rift that could never ultimately be overcome.
"People around here aren't exposed to it," Kuntz said of homosexuality (via WISTV). "People expect gays to be flamboyant, not football players."
While Kuntz maintains that it was his lifestyle that got him booted from the team, head coach Chuck Parsons insists that the dismissal stemmed from Kuntz lying about the kiss. When he was initially confronted about what happened, Kuntz told his coach that he had actually just kissed his grandfather.
"I lied," Kuntz admitted.
And even though he would eventually own up to his mistake and tell his coach the truth, Kuntz was still ousted from his squad for "conduct deemed detrimental to the team.” (There is a specific section there about lying to coaches or 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 noted after making his decision. "Any conduct by any member of the program that would cause such a distraction during a game would warrant the same consequences."
Kuntz isn’t buying that, though.
"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."
So, was Kuntz kicked off for being gay? Maybe. Was he kicked off for the sheer creepiness that one can’t help but associate with an 18-year-old (male or female) dating a 65-year-old (male or female)? Possibly. Are either of those two things actually justifiable grounds for kicking someone off off a team? Nope.
Why did Kuntz have to answer questions about who he was kissing in the first place? Clearly he lied because the question was posed to him – so why was the question originally posed? What business is it of the coach or team who or what Kuntz does with his personal life, even if it is admittedly weird as hell?
The really surprising thing about this situation is how calmly Kuntz seems to be taking everything. Booting someone from a squad for lying about kissing someone seems like the flimsiest, weakest rationale ever. So why isn’t anyone fighting back?
Maybe the wounds are still too fresh.
Don’t be surprised if this story gets new life in a few months once everything settles and all involved have a chance to understand what really happened here.