After a long silence on the matter, North Dakota State School of Science has finally released a statement clarifying the exact reasons behind Jamie Kuntz dismissal from the team on Sept. 3.
Kuntz said in an interview with Dan Savage that he had dreams of being a professional football player, but his unintended outing of himself has brought his football dreams crashing down.
Kuntz was filming a game against Snow College in Pueblo, Colorado, while being sidelined with a concussion. He invited his 65-year-old boyfriend, who lives in Denver, up into the press box where they kissed. Head football coach Charles Parsons was reportedly alerted to the incident by teammates who witnessed it. Kuntz said that the press box was basically empty during his team’s 63-17 trampling.
"We were getting destroyed," Kuntz said. "The game was a total blowout. And I guess I got bored and so I kissed my boyfriend and some of my teammates saw us.” Jamie admits the kiss was more than a peck on the lips, but it wasn’t a “hardcore make out session.”
After the game and before the 15-hour bus ride back to campus, Kuntz was confronted about the kiss by Coach Parsons. Kuntz denied the kiss and being gay, saying the older man was his grandfather. Kuntz then hinted at being suicidal on Twitter, which alarmed his roommate, and the police were called. Police determined that he was not a suicide risk. Kuntz then sent his coach a text message apologizing for lying and said that he was gay and that he had kissed the man who was with him in the press box.
The next day Kuntz was summoned to Coach Parsons’ office for a meeting where he was dismissed from the team and presented with a letter outlining the decision.
In the letter, Parsons wrote:
"Your actions on the evening of 9/1/2012, while representing NDSCS and the NDSCS football program, reflected poorly on the program. Your decisions and conduct on the night in question clearly fall into the 'Conduct deemed detrimental to the team' category. Your actions/conduct during the game was a distraction to your teammates who were looking to the press box as the game was being played. 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. Any conduct by any member of the program that would cause such a distraction during a game would warrant the same consequences."
Kuntz told Savage that other members of the team have committed tasks that are far worse than a kiss. According to Kuntz, players have been caught drinking, a violation of team rules; one underage player was detained by police after being caught in a 21 and up club. He goes on to say that some players have misdemeanor and felony convictions against them and are still on the team.
In a statement to media, NDSCS President John Richman said that “despite how this is being portrayed by some, Jamie’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with his dismissal from the football team. NDSCS is a welcoming campus where individual differences are valued and respected.”
School Athletic Director Stu Engen told WDAY that in his conversation with Coach Parsons “we didn’t talk about other man’s alleged to be 65 years of age. Our conversation consisted of … if this was a heterosexual incident, would we come to the same conclusion, and Coach Parsons' answer was yes. Mr. Kuntz simply and plainly failed to perform his duties as assigned and was an ongoing distraction to the game.”
According to the release, the distraction was Jamie inviting his boyfriend into the location where he was supposed to be working and engaging in behavior that was distracting.
Kuntz is convinced that if he was kissing a girl that he would undoubtedly still be on the team. After his dismissal from the team, Kuntz removed himself from school at NDSCS.
According to Dan Savage, Jamie is weighing his options on schools and hopes to be back on the field soon.
Read the school official response, below: