(Photo via @andrew_reiner)
Around the NFL this week, teams wore embroidered patches to honor the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe however, did not. He covered up his Hall of Fame patch according to 1500 ESPN, for a reason he strongly believes in.
The message he covered it with? “Vote for Ray Guy.”
Kluwe says the reason behind it is because of his position. A punter has never been voted into the Hall of Fame, and many believe that Ray Guy should be, as he changed the kicking game as we know it. Guy was a member of the Oakland Raiders from 1973 to 1986, in those 13 seasons, Guy represented himself in the Pro-Bowl seven times. Was a first-team All-Pro six times, was named as the NFL’s 75th anniversary team punter, named to the NFL’s all decade team of the 70′s, and has several awards named after him in all levels of organized football.
Kluwe has voiced his opinion on the matter several times, and is a firm believer that Ray Guy should have a bust in the Hall, and he’ll continue to spread the message any way he can, even if it warrants a fine from the league for not following uniform protocol.
“Of course, I’m going to get fined,” Kluwe said. “For me it’s hard to support a Hall of Fame that doesn’t recognize punters. If you took a kid into the Hall of Fame and that was the only thing they knew about football, they would have no idea that punters even played the game. Why am I going to support a Hall of Fame that does that? So, vote Ray Guy.”
He voiced his opinion further when talking about executives and owners that have been voted in, saying that they never stepped on a field to play the game, so why hold out guys that actually do.
“It actually is a very serious matter because you look at it and the way the selection process is set up right now it’s highly unlikely that a punter will ever get into the Hall of Fame,” Kluwe said. “To me if you’re going to be the gate keepers to what the game is about and you refuse to recognize a facet of the game you’re not doing your job. You are failing at your job. Whether it’s voting the punter in or changing the selection process, something has to be done because you’ve got coaches, administrators, people who have never even played the game that are in the Hall of Fame. And you’re saying guys that actually went out there and played, they can’t be in? That’s kind of bogus.”
Ray Guy voiced his opinion himself earlier this year with Yahoo sports, calling the selection process and voters “stupid”.
“I watch (today’s punters) and in the back of my mind, I (say to myself) that you’re wasting your time because we’ve got some stupid people that don’t understand,” Guy said. “Here’s a kid who’s got a dream of being a punter in the NFL, but you got people (selecting for the Hall of Fame) who cut him down before they even get out of the chute. So, what are you telling these kids? To forget about it?”
I agree with Kluwe and Guy on this subject, guys that are game changers deserve to be honored as such. Up until Ray Guy, the punter wasn’t much of a focus point. Guy literally changed the way teams viewed punters, and with all his accolades he deserves a spot where he belongs.
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OCNN Sports Columnist – Justin Arbogast Follow @NFLGuy_SK