Is Minnesota Viking and LGBT Ally Chris Kluwe Being Pushed Out for a Punter with Fewer ‘Distractions’?

Locke

Steve mentioned this briefly yesterday. On Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings drafted UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round, a move that Chris Kluwe sees as writing on the wall that he may be on his way out, and that the reason for his exit will be "distractions" related to activism for LGBT civil rights, NBC Sports' Mike Florio reports:

Chr_kluweOf course, the distractions weren’t a problem when Kluwe was staying up very late playing Guitar Hero and Worlds of Warcraft, or staying out very late on Friday night doing shows with his band.  After Kluwe opted to get behind a controversial social cause while also getting to bed at a decent hour, the team opted to acquire a player who, given that he was selected in round five, will likely have the field tilted in his favor when it comes to determining whether he or Kluwe gets the Water Pik.

Sound  familiar? Florio adds:

Ayanbadejo, after he was cut by the Ravens, suggested that the decision was influenced by his support for same-sex marriage.  Ayanbadejo then retracted that sentiment, perhaps realizing it could keep him from getting an NFL job elsewhere.

Kluwe told Florio: “It’s a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut,” Kluwe told PFT via text message.

Comments

  1. Garrett says

    Anyone who doesn’t know football should stop commenting. Ayanbadejo is going on 35, which is past the time that special teams linebackers fal out of the league. He wasn’t even a starter. As for Kluwe, he had average production last year,and is about to make one of the highest yearly salaries in the league for a punter. It could be politics, but most likely are sound football decisions.

  2. Tadpolicus Wex says

    BUY HIS BOOK WHEN IT COME OUT! In fact buy an extra copy for a friend. Mr. Kluwe is more than an ally, he is a wonderful human being endowed with a solid moral core, his writing is funny as hell and he ain’t bad on the eyes.

  3. says

    Garrett made a valid point. For what these players are paid, age and production have a huge impact on whether they are retained. This reasoning cannot be discarded.

  4. IJelly says

    @Garrett

    All valid points, however, who drafts a punter in the 5th round? Who drafts a punter, period? There’s more to the story if they’re willing to give up a middle round pick for a punter who has injury issues. (Before you say it, I know that he is a kickoff specialist as well.)

  5. IJelly says

    @Garrett Just looked up Kluwe’s stats on PFF and they’re pretty bad. Based on statistics, he’s ranked the 25th best out of 32 starting punters. Given his salary, age, and most damningly, the fact that he punts indoors, he’s toast. He’ll almost certainly be released. Let’s see if he has a decent training camp (if he gets that far) and is picked up by another team.

  6. Liam says

    @ IJelly

    The Lions drafted Sam Martin in the 5th round this year. Yeah, punters are not top priorities in the draft, but there are usually one or two who get picked.

    Kluwe is an awesome, awesome, multi-talented guy who’s had a great career. The fact that he’s such a strong ally speaks volumes to his character. But, let’s not cry wolf.

    He’s not out yet. As I understand it, he’s gonna have to compete for his position. That’s football.

  7. Fenrox says

    Even if his activism is an issue with people I think it is important to note that his activism is a big part of his media presence. If someone wanted to get a player with less potential controversy they wouldn’t be a bigot or wrong to do so, it would just be a value added to Kluwe’s overall “score”, good or bad.

  8. Francis #1 says

    Well, Chris putting it out there he was released because of his advocacy is still bad news because regardless of whether that’s the reason or not he’s being released or at all a factor, this is part of the reason why I know fans/teams don’t want a gay player. They think they’ll use their sexuality to their advantage.

    Ignorant, misinformed and silly, I know, but that’s what I read a lot.

    Men like Tebow and Kluwe, who are decent players but nothing outstanding, when your off-the-field activities become bigger than what you provide for your team, you’re libel to be cut.

  9. IJelly says

    @Liam
    Having invested a 5th round pick in a new punter, chances are slim to none that Kluwe keeps his job. That said, given Kluwe’s numbers from 2012, it does make sense from the Vikings’ point of view.

  10. TANK says

    I am very grateful for Chris Kluwe for taking a brave stand on behalf of gay rights and all, but I never thought he was really hot, from a superficial viewpoint. This Jeff Locke kid is really hot: he fills out that skintight football pants in all the right places. I’ll enjoy seeing him out on the field on Sunday! Now, I know some of the pathetic, middle-aged queens around here are gonna call me shallow, but hey, I’m just trying to keep it real… Tank style!

  11. Kick It Real Good says

    Kluwe seems to be intelligent enough to parlay his NFL career into a broadcasting gig, IF he can kind of rein himself in a bit and not be a one-trick pony for gay rights. I totally appreciate his advocacy, but in terms of his own career, he will need to be able to deliver in terms of analysis and insider perspective on the game overall–not just on what it’s like to be a very audible voice for equality.

  12. SC David says

    At 31, Kluwe is approaching the (statistically typical) end of a player’s career, and his current contract called for him to be paid $1.45M next year. He had a 2012 season that was subpar for his salary (a few notorious shanks, and a 39.7 yd average per punt). He also had knee surgery over the off-season. Punters are easy to find and most teams don’t draft them. Kluwe was a nonconformist distraction to his coaches, if not his team, for stuff other than gay marriage support. The Vikings are bringing in a new, very good college kid who was ranked #1 among all college punters (44 yd avg per punt) to compete with an aging vet. Happens every day. The Vikings also played the system to get three very talented first-round choices at the expense of draft quantity. Those three will be expensive to sign. Sounds like the Vikings want to win now, not in the future, and freeing up salary money will help them sign their first-round draft choices.

    If Kluwe out-performs in training camp and pre-season (and I hope he does, gotta respect a man who quotes Dodgeball when he finds out that he boss just hired a potential replacement), he will find a job with the Vikings or someplace else. Kluwe rightfully points out that he’s statistically the best punter the Vikings have ever had, and it’s not all about distance. If Kluwe punts poorly or hasn’t recovered from his surgery, he gets to retire on the money that he (hopefully) saved from his playing years. Welcome to the NFL.

  13. EchtKultig says

    Sorry to sound cynical but I think not only are SC David and Garrett correct, it’s quite plausible that Brandon and Chris only became very vocal allies towards the end of their career because they knew any pushback from the NFL would only hasten the inevitable. That isn’t to say they didn’t do the right thing, just that they were careful about doing the right thing. I admire them greatly. It takes courage to be a pioneer.

  14. Richard B says

    What a crock … Look, Kluwe was in the bottom half of the NFL last year in every statistical category for punters AND he carries a $1.4m cap hit to boot. Locke was rated #1 punter in the draft. He put 80+ inside the 20, AND he doubles as a kickoff man backing up Blair Walsh.

    The ONLY reason anybody makes a peep about this is that Kluwe is a “gay rights activist”, therefore a darling of the LGBT’s and the liberal left … which has nothing to do with FOOTBALL. Punting, not politics, is why he gets paid.

    Congrats to the Vikes for drafting an upgrade and not caving in to the liberal left pressure machine.

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