A former linebacker says he was kicked off the football team at North Dakota State College of Sciences after his coaches learned that the older man he was kissing was his boyfriend.
Jamie Kuntz told The Associated Press that he sat out of the Labor Day game against Snow College because of a concussion. And while video taping the game in the press box, players noticed Kuntz kissing a much-older man.
"The kiss just happened," he recalled.
When coaches confronted him about the kiss, Kuntz lied and said the 65-year-old man had been his grandfather.
"He asked what was going on in the press box and I just played dumb," the player recalled to The Dickinson Press. "I said, ‘I don’t know what you are talking about, I just filmed the game.’ He asked, ‘Who was in the press box with you?’ I said ‘My grandpa’ and he said ‘OK.’ I asked, ‘Is that going to be a problem?’ He said ‘Not now, but it is when we get back.’ That was the conversation we had."
But he said he felt guilty and later told his coaches the truth.
A Sept. 3 letter obtained by The Associated Press explained that Kuntz was being dismissed for "conduct deemed detrimental to the team" and "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," Coach Chuck 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, however, doesn't buy that explanation.
"I know if it was a girl in the press box, or even an older woman, nothing would have happened," he insisted. "If it was an older woman, I would have probably been congratulated for it from my teammates."
After losing his partial football scholarship, Kuntz dropped out of college and is now living with his mother in Dickinson. He is considering trying out for another team outside of North Dakota.
"I miss it already," he told the AP.
A Facebook page created to support Kuntz now has 80 members. The former linebacker said he has also been surprised by an outpouring of support on Twitter.
“It’s been a lot of support,” he said. “I didn’t really see it coming, but it’s nice to have it.”
Photo: Facebook/Jamie Kuntz