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Former Minnesota Viking Punter Outs His Former Coaches as Cowards and Bigots

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | January 2, 2014 | Comments ()


chris_kluwe3.jpg

There’s a lot to the story from Chris Kluwe — former punter for the Minnesota Vikings — over on Deadspin to unpack, but I can’t encourage everyone enough to read it. In it, Kluwe explains the circumstances surrounding his release from the Vikings in May 2013, and everything in the piece suggests it was because he spoke out for equality, for gay rights. Not only did it earn him a release from the team, it led to a lot of tension in the clubhouse, including one assertion by his coach suggesting that “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”

Yes, that was something said. In 2013.

It’s a brave, admirable piece, and it demonstrates that — even as accepting of gay marriage as the United States is becoming — there are still pockets of homophobia in very high places. This piece — which may effectively end Kluwe’s career as a punter for good — will hopefully raise more awareness about the problem in the NFL. Ideally, it will get some people fired, too (not that the Vikings haven’t already begun the process).

Read the entire Deadspin piece here.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • BlackRabbit

    That island-nuking idea MIGHT be ok, but what happens when those gays come back with superpowers, hmm? What then, smart guy?

  • bastich

    They'll start their own super-teams, of course.

    (The Unambiguously Gay Duo?)

  • BlackRabbit

    The Justice League. Aquaman's not the only one with a beard. Heyooo!

  • Mr Blobby

    Dustin - I agree with your POV on most of the issues, but recently (parenthood to blame?) you've become just flat-out, pain-in-the-arse pious. Unleavened self-righteous indignation just ain't funny. Lighten up sir! Dial down the overweening sense of outrage, the "mustn't laugh at that" mindset, and rediscover the ridiculous and the fun. It sounds like you now belong to some rabid left-of-centre thought police, determined to stamp out anything other than the purest of voices on social issues. You used to mock amusingly from the cheap seats which made for entertaining reading. Alas..

    Pajiba has lost it, jumped the shark etc. To quote Austin Powers "I'm spent" and off to find a new pop culture website.

  • googergieger

    Yeah Kluwe is great. Can't wait for his inevitable podcast. If only on the hope he'll call it the KluweKlast. Just so his fans can call themselves the KluweKlastKlan.

  • e jerry powell

    Though I suspect some of the Kardashian Klan might take issue...

  • "Ideally, it will get some people fired, too"
    If people are fired from their jobs, it should be because they are bad at those jobs. Not because someone on the Internet doesn't like their opinions.

  • Sometimes people get fired from their jobs for discrimination, too.

  • Looks like you caught a ricochet downvote off of me. I'll balance it out for you.

  • I can carry that one--but thanks. And I agree with you on a lot of levels here, but I do think that it's one thing to have an opinion that I consider loathsome (the ones Kluwe describes in the coaches' comments) and another to make those opinions so clear--particularly from a position of power--that people who disagree with you feel that they will be punished for voicing their own opinion. And that doesn't touch on actions beyond speech.

  • Salieri2

    But sometimes people get fired for absolutely no reason, or because they're "too pretty," or because they're gay.

    I utterly agree with you that people should be fired for just cause to do with their job performance, but we shouldn't be suckered into assuming that's the case, ever.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I like Kluwe. It was sad to see him go, but I'm starting to think this is becoming less about gay rights and more about Chris Kluwe. Why not bring this up after he was cut? Why wait until his NFL career is basically over?

  • Mark Maloney

    I'm a native Minnesotan, lifelong Vikings fan, lived my whole life in this market. I feel like I'm at ground zero for this thing. I kinda liked Kluwe a few years a go, but as it was (unpopularly) pointed out above, his skills had dropped off and was making serious money. It's not all that uncommon for teams to regularly change out punters - they're kind of the least appreciated player by design. I only know what is being reported publicly (I've studied it all); obviously I don't have any other insight. Its a whole lot of he said-he said as far as I'm concerned. I'm no apologist for the way the team has been run, and have lots of problems with many aspects of the decision making, from the owner on down. But I will point out that outside of his job, Kluwe was considered the poster child, go-to, social media darling advocate for the recent marriage amendment here in Minnesota, and I think that he sort of got drunk with the celebrity that followed. He might be really full of himself; I don't know. I get that it doesn't make for good conspiracy theories, but it should be acknowledged that after getting released from Minnesota no other NFL team thought he was good enough to warrant the salary. It's absolutely incredible to me that members of the Minnesota State Legislature don't have anything better to concern themselves with than to now be demanding investigations of the Vikings "work environment".

  • pissants_doppelganger

    Fun fact: you can read the article on deadspin that Dustin linked to and find the answers to those questions.

    OK, fuck it: he says he still cares about many of his former teammates and didn't want this distracting them during the season (I assume they didn't make the playoffs). He hopes he can now raise the issue, have it discussed, and hopefully everything will die down before next season so that, once again, his former teammates aren't distracted by it.

  • I am pretty sure this punter has strong beliefs, but why not win the argument in the first place by asking these 2 questions/points.

    That is, Doesn't the medical community recommend that you, "Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom."?

    Yet, now there are some in the medical community that now say it's OK to "Sleep with the waste that gets flushed down in the toilet?" and that it's possible to live a perfectly normal life.

    Twitter Handle: @AhContraire

  • Jezzer

    You misspelled "Cuntraire."

  • Genevieve Burgess

    The medical community also strongly advises against sticking things in your eyes on purpose, but I do exactly that every morning. Do I need to? Nope. Are there less medically hazardous alternatives? Absolutely. I do it anyway, because it improves my quality of life and makes me happier to wear contact lenses than to wear glasses or be half blind. I reduce the risks associated with sticking small pieces of plastic in my eyes by practicing generally accepted procedures designed to reduce those risks. Other people might not understand why I wear contacts, or even agree that it's the right thing to do. But they're not me, and I'm in charge of my eyes so I make decisions about what I'd like to do with them without their input.

    So, you know. butt out about what other people do with their butts.

  • pissants_doppelganger

    Also, and I know it is pointless to bring up things like this with people like that, but anal sex doesn't define a gay man's sexual orientation*. Many of them don't engage in anal sex. And many of them do safely engage in anal sex. And many straight people engage in anal sex. So, what the fuck is up with these "medical" arguments? Oh yeah, assholes really really fixated on what other people do with their assholes.

    * - not to mention, I'm pretty sure Kluwe is in support of equal rights for homosexuals of any gender

  • e jerry powell

    Unless, of course, you are being offered the butt in question.

  • BendinIntheWind

    No 1 curr

  • pajiba

    You, sir, are A DELIGHT, and by DELIGHT I mean, TERRIBLE SCAB ON THE COLD SORE OF HUMANITY.

  • Vince

    So it's safe to say you've never been anywhere near a woman's vagina and have never allowed a woman near your penis, right?

  • Since you had the courage to reply (and most don't), here is Part 2 of the aforementioned response.

    And for you who are not males
    And for those who think lesbians are least likely to get AIDS, the CDC says that HPV is on the rise from unclean practices.
    http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/

    And for you medical students:
    That orifice, where #2 objects are expelled from, is meant to have objects pass in one direction only and very very infrequently. Certainly not in two directions and certainly not at high speed, nor with high repetitions. Yet if this happens, then that skin has a tendency to tear easily, hence, blood to feces contact, which is a medically dangerous contact.

    The orifice where #2 objects are expelled was "born that way", just in case you didn't know.

  • TK

    Well, given the amount of shit that's been spouting from your mouth, I'm gonna go ahead and give you some credit for your knowledge on feces and orifices, though I think your obsession with it is a little disturbing.

    That said, it doesn't change the fact that you're an unconscionable bigot hiding behind a pathetically weak argument mixed with ignorance that is designed to make your point, which is the very opposite of how science and scientific method works.

    TL; DR - Spare us the colorful language and wannabe eloquence. Just say you fucking hate queers, and save us all some goddamn time, you ignorant lackwit.

  • lowercase_ryan

    It's not a lack of courage that keeps people from responding to you. It's not knowing what the hell you're talking about.

    @nobodygivesashitaboutyourtwitterhandleeither

  • the_wakeful

    I love chris Kluwe, since he's such a great presence on twitter and Reddit, etc. I believe him when he says he was fired for his views, and that his coach is a bigoted asshole. That being said, his ongoing lack of employment has nothing to do with this.

    Punting is a highly replaceable role in the NFL. The new guys coming out of college are only getting better and better. Kluwe is an 8 year veteran, which means his minimum pay is $800,000. He's a pretty average punter. Why would a team hire him when they can get a young guy for $300,000 less that kicks just as well?

    I wish Chris all the best, and I dearly hope this article hinders that asshole coach's chances at a new job, but don't read too much into it. Chris is a smart guy. He'll be fine.

    EDIT: The Vikings have released a statement. It's pretty basic.
    http://www.vikings.com/news/ar...

  • knifeyspoony

    I can understand this argument. on the other hand, the fact that a very flawed team like the Vikings used a fifth-round pick on a punter (as opposed to, say, bringing in a rookie free agent) would suggest that there may have been something beyond, "we should probably get younger and cheaper at the position."

  • Maguita NYC

    After that statement, I wonder if any of this teammates would come to his defense, or would stay silent as with the Military (before major changes were implemented): DADT.

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you for explaining the situation in regard to punters and financial decisions. I believe though Chris is quite aware he won't be coming back with the NFL, unless he is hired in a position as training personnel.

  • the_wakeful

    I got the feeling from the article that he was trying to imply that his bigoted coach was conspiring to keep him from getting hired, or maybe the other teams agreed with his coach. Maybe that's not what he was saying at all, but I just wanted to point that out.

  • Maguita NYC

    I did get the feeling that Chris was implying homophobic coach was "reworking" interpretation of results so he could get a less than fair performance evaluation. I guess if you know how to interpret the player stats, would you say it was fair that during that moment in time Kluwe was a good player for the Vikings?

    But overall, the tone to me indicated his resolution to not playing for the NFL ever again, but wanting at the very least to make clear what really happened, from his POV of course.

  • Finance_Nerd

    “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” I agree w/part of this statement. I think that we should send gay people to an island... but as part of a completely voluntary all-expense paid trip for all of the bigots and BS that they have to put up with. We shouldn't leave out those who have been targeted for religious or racial reasons either, so they should go too. I guess what I'm really saying is I'm tired of winter and would like to go to a tropical island to party w/anyone that's not a bigot. Who's with me?

  • e jerry powell

    Some place in the Mediterranean.

  • the EPA

    The reality is Kluwe sucked dick (no pun intended) as a punter and they dumped his ass for a better and cheaper option. Here are the stats for Kluwe the year he was released.

    *31st in NFL in punts inside the 20
    *22nd in NFL in avg punt yardage
    *32nd in NFL for long punt
    *17th in NFL in net yardage
    *Kicking to Devin Hester

    There are 32 teams in the NFL and he was an overpaid athlete at THEE most replaceable position. Sorry Chris your bullshit story on why you were released is just that. Bullshit.

  • And it begins….

    The point of the story is that he's calling out someone who, if the comments that are attributed to him are true, is a legitimate bigot and ought to be out of a job for his behavior. And he's more gently calling out two others directly responsible for this person (I'll let Priefer defend himself publicly if he's able and not just sling the label on him) being employed by an organization that has official policies against such behavior, because he believes they did not display the fortitude he felt was warranted on the matter. That seems like a pretty fair presentation of the situation. His recounting of events isn't intended to get him his job back, or make a case for remuneration for being wrongfully fired. He's making public what he experienced, and extending an invitation for those in a position to bring some accountability (namely, the owner) to the situation to do so, if they so choose.

    Let's join Kluwe in focusing on the issue, which is not his release from the Vikings but what the circumstances of it reveal about some people in leadership with the team.

  • Maguita NYC

    "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."

    "Mike Priefer also said on multiple occasions that I would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible."

    This is clearly very much at odds with Coach Fraziers' "a wise coach once told me there are two things you don't talk about in the NFL, politics and religion." First, Mike Priefer's ass needs to be punished or fired. And second, there is no religion in NFL??!

    I am no Football connoisseur, and I couldn't name a pitch, a game, or a play, but I can definitely tell you that there is religion in Football.

  • L.O.V.E.

    ha. You certainly prooved you don't know football, because like Kluwe, this guy didn't play in the nfl this year either and has now resorted to a media gig.

    I can't speak to what happened in minnesota, thought the recent statements contradict prior statements Kluwe has made about how he was treated by the vikings and his opinion that he was only cut because of salary cap issues. he may have said that to avoid getting blackballed, but its not his style to hold back his opinions. also, I think the raiders gave him a shot but cut him too.

    I get the feeling he is telling the truth, but there may very well be another side to this story.

  • Maguita NYC

    I still don't know any more about football, but I do know that Tim Tebow made millions of dollars, and fans, because of his public demonstrations of "Christianity and faith" before getting on the field.

    My point is, there is a lot of religion and religious talk within the NFL, and it's been going on WAY before Tim Tebow. The different interpretations of faith, mainly Christianity, had lead many to act in questionable ways in defense of not only the game of Football, but its players and as highlighted in Kluwe's open letter, its leaders and personnel as well.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Tim tebow was seen as a sideshow distraction to many teams and can't get a tryout. he became famous because he was a Heisman trohy winning quarterback with a national title who played in the SEC. Kluwe is a punter. not the same, though its worth mentioning that the nfl doesn't give a shit about tebow's fandom and he can't get back in the league.

    Zigi woolf, the vikings owner has a foundation that actively supports gay rights. please don't make me come to the ddefense of an asshat like Lesley Frasier (who was just fired by the way), but Kluwe was a middling punter who made more than twice what the current guy gets. Veterans get cut in football all the time.

    If you can make a team milliosn of dollars you can be a distraction. if you are a punter you don't get to be a distraction no matter what the cause.

    If he was discrimated against that is bullshit. but its debateable that he was. he had the owners support on the issue. another punter got cut this past season before he was. all I am saying from someone who does follow football is that Kluwe could be wrong and Frasier should have an opportunity to respond before he is determined a bigot.

  • He calls Frazier a coward, Mike Priefer is the one he reserves bigot for, and Kluwe offers pretty damning quotes to support his statement. The whole article is worth reading if you're at all interested in this news item. I also don't think he's making a big statement that he has somehow been a victim. Rather, I think he's calling out people for some public reckoning. It's especially timely given that Frazier's just been sacked and that Priefer is considered the only internal candidate. I applaud Kluwe solely for trying to shine a light on someone who appears to need it.

    I think what's best about the piece is that Kluwe embraces the circumstances, and offers a measured opinion based on them. Kluwe has been a standup guy for the past several years, and while he certainly isn't a shrinking violet, I would say (I'm a native Minnesotan with strong ties there, and have tracked these events in MN for awhile now) he presents a pretty clear picture of how events unfolded. He concludes by offering his opinion about how the specifics relate to a broader social issue. I'm sure there will be the reflexive calls that his comments are 'sour grapes', but he speaks to the timing and nature of this remarks as well in a way that shows he is concerned about more than himself. I was pretty sure from accounts I've read through this season that Kluwe was pretty sure his career prospects are very limited, if not gone completely.

    I was somewhat surprised at his naming of names at first, but I think this move is in keeping with his actions on this issue throughout. He's not afraid to speak for fairness, he seeks to strikes a balance among various considerations, but is not so compartmentalized as a person that he just shrinks away from what he indicates is a responsibility to speak up for others who are subject to discrimination, hatred, abuse. There is a measure of courage of one's convictions on display that is sadly lacking in professional sport.

  • L.O.V.E.

    The thing is that a decision to cut a player comes from the head coach and gm, so what is the reason for being cut? Isn't he implicitly accussing those 2 of cutting him for bigotted reasons?

  • He's relaying the events as he experienced them, and offering his conclusion that his outspoken-ness on this issue and the special teams coach's bigotry brought an end to his time with Vikings. That's debatable, but fair. Here's the quote that I care about, and it speaks to what he's trying to accomplish:

    "If there's one thing I hope to achieve from sharing this story, it's to make sure that Mike Priefer never holds a coaching position again in the NFL, and ideally never coaches at any level. (According to the Pioneer Press, he is "the only in-house candidate with a chance" at the head-coaching job.) It's inexcusable that someone would use his status as a teacher and a role model to proselytize on behalf of his own doctrine of intolerance, and I hope he never gets another opportunity to pass his example along to anyone else. I also hope that Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are the people they truly profess themselves to be."

  • L.O.V.E.

    I hear you. that is why I didn't mention Priefer. If he said those things I would hope a Glazer or Schefter can at least get a confirmation from an unnamed player, and I think the league needs to start an investigation. But I think Frazier and the GM deserve a chance to comment because there are plenty of legitimate reasons for them to have cut Kluwe.

    Edit: I think my views are similar to this writer who covers the Vikings. http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnat...

  • JustOP

    Gotta give your props for saying the unpopular thing. Honestly, I find it easy to believe what Kluwe says as true, but I'd rather wait for a full story composing of both sides before I make any judgement. Kudos.

  • Maguita NYC

    I didn't say Leslie Fraziers was a bigot, I said he was quoting a previous coach on how religion and politics have no place in Football. Priefer was the one uttering repeatedly homophobic slurs in front of witnesses and other players.

    And you don't need to be a fan of football to follow the news and be aware of how religion is often used in NFL.

    From citing one's faith publicly as Tim Tebow, to using faith as defense in situations of mistreatment of animals, rape, and even in cases of murder accusations, whether you call it a distraction or a means to an end in gains and sponsorship, one cannot deny how many have been celebrated instead of repudiated because of public demonstrations of faith.

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