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Chris Kluwe Claims He Was Likely Fired Due to Homophobic Bigotry & Cowardice of Vikings Coaches

Chris kluwe

When punter and vocal LGBT ally Chris Kluwe was cut from the Minnesota Vikings back in May, many (including the governor) suspected that there was more to the story than what was being told by team officials. Although officials said they cut him early to give him a better chance at singing with another team, many believed he was cut for being too outspoken on LGBT rights issues. Kluwe, for his part, maintained the same answer when repeatedly asked his thoughts on the speculation: "I honestly don't know, because I'm not in those meetings with the coaches and administrative people."

And while Kluwe contends that he still doesn’t know for sure if his activism was the reason for his firing, he now says he is pretty confident it was. In a new article published on Deadspin, Kluwe blasts his former coaches, saying in part:

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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 1.32.54 PMKluwe says that Priefer (pictured right), who is the special-teams coordinator for the Vikings, repeatedly used homophobic language in his presence, including an instance back in November 2012 where Priefer went on a rant saying “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” As the season went on, Kluwe says Preifer became increasingly irritated with his activism.    

Kluwe also says that others on the coaching staff were uncomfortable with his outspokenness and attempted to dissuade him from speaking out on the matter of same-sex marriage and LGBT equality.

Later in the piece, Kluwe goes on to explain why he waited so long to tell his side of the story and closes by bringing up the larger question of homophobia in the NFL

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.


Some will ask if the NFL has a problem with institutionalized homophobia. I don't think it does. I think there are homophobic people in the NFL, in all positions, but that's true for society as well, and those people eventually get replaced. All we can do is try to expose their behavior when we see it and call them to account for their actions.

The entire article is well worth a read. If you are interested, head over to Deadspin HERE

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  1. Kluwe is one of the most accomplished players in the history of the NFL. I don't doubt he's telling the truth. Mike Priefer needs to learn that in 2013 no one talks about gays like that and makes a living, not the other way around.

    Posted by: sundayboy | Jan 2, 2014 3:25:57 PM

  2. I believe Kluwe as well. In fact, I was surprised he didn't make any accusations when he was cut. The whole thing stinks.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jan 2, 2014 3:32:08 PM

  3. Priefer's twitter-feed lit up like a rocket. NOW it is closed to all but 'confirmed followers.' that was fast...

    Posted by: mike/ | Jan 2, 2014 3:34:03 PM

  4. If that person said that about women or black people. He would have lost his job.

    Posted by: t2 | Jan 2, 2014 3:41:30 PM

  5. If that person said that about women or black people. He would have lost his job.

    Posted by: t2 | Jan 2, 2014 3:41:30 PM

  6. i love chris kluwe. it'll be fun to watch the bigot squirm and try to disavow the bigoted things he said. and if he gets fired, which he probably won't, i'm sure A&E would be happy to give him a reality show on their awful network.

    Posted by: Mark | Jan 2, 2014 3:53:26 PM

  7. Chris Kluwe us full of sour grapes. He was cut base don his statistics and salary. His recent stats were mediocre at best, he is getting older (so he is on the downside of his career), and his salary was too high (you can get a YOUNGER punter for far less money. He needs to accept he was released for purely football reasons and stop his whining.

    Posted by: Perry | Jan 2, 2014 4:04:55 PM

  8. It is incomprehensible to me that somebody could say “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows" in a workplace environment and not be immediately fired. I've had enough of this crap.

    Posted by: Joseph | Jan 2, 2014 4:04:58 PM

  9. Priefer has a standup son too:

    Posted by: John | Jan 2, 2014 4:06:59 PM

  10. And the fact that NONE of the other 31 NFL teams didn't sign him (unless you count the Raiders who only had him on the practice squad and pre-season) speaks volumes. Then again I guess those 31 other teams must be bigoted as well.

    Posted by: Perry | Jan 2, 2014 4:07:18 PM

  11. "Kluwe is one of the most accomplished players in the history of the NFL"

    No he wasn't, no need to hype him, he was a punter!

    The guy they drafted to replace him had a statistically better year, in fact. Kluwe was a good, not great, punter for his entire career. It's a position that is easily replaceable in the NFL, he got let go because he ignored the #1 rule of team sports:

    Unless you are at the Brady, Manning, Kobe, LeBron level at your position, any time you become a distraction in the locker room or publicly, you can be cut if the coaches or management feels like it. The Yankees would LOVE it if Pay-Rod retired this week, for example.

    Kluwe was overpaid as an NFL player, now he can go on to his new life as an activist.

    The article sure doesn't paint a flattering picture of Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier and his staff, that's for sure.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Jan 2, 2014 4:10:10 PM

  12. But why should his advocacy have been a distraction? He's free to say and do whatever he likes as long as it doesn't interfere with his job performance.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 2, 2014 4:23:24 PM

  13. Jason Collins is probably scratching his head why he didn't use this, too. I hope the coach sues this narcissist's ass off. Surely there were witnesses other than Mr Sour Grapes here.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 2, 2014 4:43:17 PM

  14. Kluwe would have been more awesome if he didn't release these accusations months after being let go. It seems less genuine and more sour grapes.

    Posted by: bravo | Jan 2, 2014 4:57:27 PM

  15. Kluwe speaks out as a gay rights activist and gets canned.

    Phil Robertson speaks out as a Xtian bigot and keeps his job.

    Neither is a free speech issue.

    Having said that as a Minnesota resident I will be raising holy hell about public funding going to an organization that supports homophobic and violent bigots.

    Posted by: bkmn | Jan 2, 2014 5:00:11 PM

  16. I don't think it's sour grapes. I think he was probably trying to take the high road and, more important, not seem even more controversial and potentially difficult in hopes of getting a spot with another team.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 2, 2014 5:22:31 PM

  17. @Bravo He explained very clearly in the Deadspin article the reason he delayed. He didn't want to distract from their season. Now that the season is over with their very dismal record, he felt he was free to discuss this and bring it up.

    And by the way, apparently what Pfiefer said about rounding up the gays to nuke them was said to the team. As he said after it was said,, "The room grew intensely quiet, and none of the players said a word for the rest of the meeting. The atmosphere was decidedly tense. I had never had an interaction that hostile with any of my teammates on this issue—some didn’t agree with me, but our conversations were always civil and respectful. Afterward, several told me that what Mike Priefer had said was “messed up.”

    Looks like there will be enough people to back up what was said.

    Posted by: m.r. | Jan 2, 2014 5:23:10 PM

  18. Wow. So glad Kluwe is making this public. Any denials yet from Priefer? If you didn't say that come forward and say so. If you did say it have the courage of your mouth and come forward. Gay kids are lining up so you get to put a real face to the imagined ones you want to incinerate.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Jan 2, 2014 5:33:24 PM

  19. Bkmn says: "Phil Robertson speaks a ...bigot and keeps his job. Yes, outrageous. But Bkmn, who gave the Duck Dipsticks clan fame, relative fortune and a platform to spread their malevolent verbal manure? Could it be, dare I suggest, the gays of your life in Hollywood? The self-described "white trash" Mr. R. didn't give himself a cable show. No siree! A&E, its producers and financial bean counters did. Profits before everything you know. The heavily gay world put them on and reaped the blowback from their trashy undereducated mouths. Now you want sympathy? Not from me.

    Posted by: Contrarian | Jan 2, 2014 5:38:08 PM

  20. I like when there are mugshots to accompany these articles. If you're going to jump and beat the crap out of a human stain on his way to his car, it's best to be absolutely certain you've got the right guy.

    Posted by: FFS | Jan 2, 2014 5:38:15 PM

  21. The problem with this situation is I have no doubt his advocacy had something to do with it, but may not have been the main reason and that puts him in a difficult position. He brings up the possibility in his piece - which is a bit wordy - but I think he needs to foreground it to deflect the obvious (for some) charge that he's ignoring it.
    Overall though, I'm glad Kluwe has pierced the silly code of silence about what goes on locker rooms. There are a couple angles to take on Priefer's rhetoric. At its most benign...and of course that's hardly benign in any case...he was just trying to get under Kluwe's skin, and does not actually believe gays should be nuked. It's too bad Kluwe didn't have the forethought to secretly record it. Will be interesting how the team responds to it if the owner is gay friend, as Kluwe asserts. I actually hope they don't fire him, it will just create another martyr for whom the right-wing echo chamber can start singing hosannas.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Jan 2, 2014 5:41:17 PM

  22. Please, even the right wing have limits in who they support and I doubt they're going to support a guy who advocates nuking human beings.

    Especially as Glenn Beck just recently claimed to be horrified about what's going on in Russia: "Do you know what happened last week in Russia? One of their biggest stars on television said that homosexuals should be put into the ovens alive. I didn’t think you could make the Holocaust worse but he’s like “Why the gas chamber? That seems a little too humane. Let’s put them alive in the ovens.’”
    “I said on the air this week, I will stand with GLAAD. I will stand with anybody who will stand up and say that’s crazy. That’s dangerous. That’s hetero-fascism. That’s what that is. And we’re talking about Duck Dynasty. Really? Really?”

    Posted by: m.r. | Jan 2, 2014 5:47:27 PM

  23. ANd by the way Preifer is actually trying out for the head coaching job for the Vikings which is one of the reasons Kluwe wrote his article. He says he wants to make sure he never gets a coaching job again.

    Posted by: m.r. | Jan 2, 2014 5:49:28 PM

  24. Chris Kluwe is a stand up dude and is under no illusions. He's his own man and doesn't need to upstage anyone. (Though I thought that beig born on Christmas Eve was a little much, even for him!)

    Posted by: Jeff | Jan 2, 2014 6:08:12 PM

  25. seem not get the point of his article. The fact remains the coaches, especially Priefer used hate speech.

    Posted by: RK | Jan 2, 2014 6:17:27 PM

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