A freshman at a two-year college in North Dakota is saying he was kicked off the football team because he is gay.
However, North Dakota State College of Science football coach Chuck Parsons is saying linebacker Jamie Kuntz was dismissed from the team for lying.
A teammate saw Kuntz kissing his older boyfriend in the press box at a game in Pueblo, Colo. The teammate reported the kiss to the team's coaches.
Football coach Chuck Parsons confronted Kuntz on the bus ride back to Wahpeton, N.D. and Kuntz told his coach the man he kissed was his grandfather. Kuntz's boyfriend is 65 years old.
Kuntz said he felt guilty about lying and came clean to his coach. That is when he was served a letter, obtained by the Associated Press, ousting him for "conduct deemed detrimental to the team" with specific notes related to the 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.''
Kuntz left the college this month after his dismissal from the football program, saying he had no reason to stay around without football. He says he is still pursuing football in the future, but is convinced that he was dismissed for being gay.
"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.''
John Richman, the school's president, says he believes the athletic department handled Kuntz's case in the proper manner.
"I'm very confident that with the information that's been provided to me by our football coach, Chuck Parsons, by our athletic director, Stu Engen, that the thought process, the facts that were reviewed, have led them to an appropriate and the right decision in this case,'' Richman said Tuesday in an interview at the college.