It’s not exactly Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball, but nevertheless on Saturday night a pretty huge sports borderline was crossed. It was the night the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced for the first time that a punter had been elected for enshrinement.
Raiders great Ray Guy, after years of campaigning by a lot of people including former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, is finally in.
Yes, punters are football players too. Everyone on the field has to do his job in order for a team to win, and that includes the specialists. So why shouldn’t the best ones get a spot in the Hall of Fame?
The voters held out for many years, arguing absurdly that punters aren’t real players and shouldn’t go into Canton. But the tide has turned in recent years, at least partially thanks to the efforts of guys like Chris Kluwe, who once famously sported a “Vote Ray Guy” decal on his uniform during a game – much to the chagrin of special teams coach Mike Priefer.
Kluwe was among the first to congratulate Guy upon news of his election. “And big congrats to Ray Guy. Glad he gets to experience this while he’s still alive. Truly one of the most influential punters to play,” Kluwe tweeted.
Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams and Claude Humphrey will join Guy in the 2014 Canton class.