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Minnesota Vikings' Chris Kluwe: I Was Fired For Pro-Gay Advocacy

Updated Thursday at 3:23 p.m. PST

The Minnesota Vikings have issued a response to the allegations made by former punter Chris Kluwe in an op-ed piece published on Deadspin today:

Here's the statement from the Vikings:

The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe’s allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter. As an organization, the Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level. The team has long respected our players’ and associates’ individual rights, and, as Chris specifically stated, Vikings ownership supports and promotes tolerance, including on the subject of marriage equality. Because he was identified with the Vikings, Chris was asked to be respectful while expressing his opinions. Team ownership and management also repeatedly emphasized to Chris that the Vikings would not impinge on his right to express his views. Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance. We will have further comment at the appropriate time.

Thoughts on the Vikings' response, Instincters?

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Original Post

Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has penned a op-ed piece for Deadspin, in which, he opens up on what he believes to be the reason behind his release from the Vikings: specifically, he was forced out based on his LGBT advocacy. He also openly labels Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer as a bigot, who consistently used homophobic slurs and denounced gays. 

According to Kluwe, Priefer went so far as to say that "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows." 

On Priefer Kluwe writes:

Throughout the months of September, October, and November, Minnesota Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer would use homophobic language in my presence. He had not done so during minicamps or fall camp that year, nor had he done so during the 2011 season. He would ask me if I had written any letters defending "the gays" recently and denounce as disgusting the idea that two men would kiss, and he would constantly belittle or demean any idea of acceptance or tolerance. I tried to laugh these off while also responding with the notion that perhaps they were human beings who deserved to be treated as human beings. 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. He said all this in a semi-joking tone, and I responded in kind, as I felt a yelling match with my coach over human rights would greatly diminish my chances of remaining employed. I felt uncomfortable each time Mike Priefer said these things. After all, he was directly responsible for reviewing my job performance, but I hoped that after the vote concluded in Minnesota his behavior would taper off and eventually stop.

Kluwe ultimately throws down the gauntlet--pointedly saying that he believes his release was directly in response to him raising his voice in support of marriage equality.

It's my belief, based on everything that happened over the course of 2012, that I was fired by Mike Priefer, a bigot who didn't agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman, both of whom knew I was a good punter and would remain a good punter for the foreseeable future, as my numbers over my eight-year career had shown, but who lacked the fortitude to disagree with Mike Priefer on a touchy subject matter. (Frazier was fired on Monday, at the conclusion of a 5-10-1 season.) One of the main coaching points I've heard throughout my entire life is, "How you respond to difficult situations defines your character," and I think it's a good saying. I also think it applies to more than just the players.

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.

Head to Deadspin for Kluwe's full op-ed.

What's your take on Kluwe's commentary, Instincters?

Comments

Saying it is inaccurate AND inconsistent with policy is interesting.  If the first part is true, the second part is not necessary to say.  It sounds like lawyer-speak for 'we don't want to confess that someone did something our largely symbolic mission statement says shouldn't be done'.  That's certainly one possible reading, anyway...

Regardless of what really happened, Chris will always be, not only a friend, but a very good friend.

I am not a fan of football or any sport for that matter, but I was certainly interested in the NFL's reactions to Chris' comments concerning equality. I personally have a deep respect for anyone who is willing to take such a stand in support of others. The NFL and the Vikings can say what they want and attempt to spin this however they want, but it doesn't change the fact that an apparently solid performer was targeted and ultimately removed from the game, because he decided to take a stand for something greater than himself, which conflicted with the hateful and hurtful ideas of a bigot. I do not see this as a particularly difficult case to examine and would expect it to be very easy to determine whether or not the coach made such statements and acted inappropriately. The question is really whether or not they are willing to end the ability for people in positions of power to interject their unfounded prejudices within their ranks. As for me and my house, we stand in support of Chris and all those willing to speak out for equality! 

well that's pretty much a boiler-plate response nowadays....the next few days will be very telling. stay tuned...!

I believe that the only reason that the Viking's management responded was because of the bullying allegations within the Miami Dolphins organization that have made headlines this year. When upper management & coaches make the comment that they made it's pretty clear where the organization stands despite their policies.

What would Jesus say if he saw people acting that way and calling themselves "Christian" as a guise? He would be so very appalled. He might even think that He was crucified in vain.

Coach is a self-loathing, ethnocentric prick. Kluwe should be admired for standing up and standing out, even unemployed. He will have a long career, hopefully in another profession than the homophobic institution of any professional sport.

The coach is in the closet

There are BIGOTS in every walk of life, but especially in professions where "Men" are supposed to be "Men".  Little does the public know, places like the Marine Corps,, Navy, Air Force and Army, homosexuality is NOT new!  It has been around for years.  Same goes for every team sport!  It is fact of the matter.  It has been covered up better than the Tour de France biking scandal.  "Men" quitely having sexual relationships with other men in sports, the military, oil fields, home builders, and every profession where men congregate. MANY men in button down white shirts and suits too. Often this is why men do not want women breaking their ranks, because women are not as "easy" as having sex with another man, which can take 'minutes' and not a lot of foreplay.  I hope Mr. Kluwe finds a new team, or has saved enough money to not have to worry about being unemployed.     

The ones who cry the most foul are the ones that play the most. If only urinals could speak

If the stories of just my experiences alone were ever known, whole sections of the deep south would implode in a hypocrisy ridden black hole singularity.

I believe it because I have witnessed these things over and over again. If people only knew

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