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


  1. sundayboy says

    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.

  2. Mark says

    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.

  3. Perry says

    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.

  4. Joseph says

    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.

  5. Perry says

    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.

  6. Henry Holland says

    “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.

  7. Paul R says

    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.

  8. Mike says

    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.

  9. bkmn says

    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.

  10. Paul R says

    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.

  11. m.r. says

    @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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. Contrarian says

    Bkmn says: “Phil Robertson speaks out…as 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.

  14. FFS says

    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.

  15. EchtKultig says

    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.

  16. m.r. says

    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?”

  17. m.r. says

    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.

  18. Jeff says

    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!)

  19. EchtKultig says

    Interesting M.R., but it sounds like Beck was mostly trying to cover for Duck Dynasty. Of course the problem with that is it’s just defending different degrees of essentially the same Abrahamic homophobic rhetoric. (though in the grand scheme of things, he is correct – even a broken clock is right twice a day as the cliche goes. The Duck Dynasty controversy was blown out of proportions…by both sides. But it’s more embarrassing for our side, because we should know better. See my comments about GLAAD’s leadership in another thread…unforunately they don’t have anyone who knows better, apparently. An English degree does not a highly successful media strategist make.)

  20. m.r. says

    Priefer has made a statement basically denying he’s homophobic but not specifically denying the quote from Kluwe.

    “I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe.
    I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.
    The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way. As a coach, I have always created an accepting environment for my players, including Chris, and have looked to support them both on and off the field.

    The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family. While my career focus is to be a great professional football coach, my number one priority has always been to be a protective husband and father to my wife and children.

    I will continue to work hard for the Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf family and all of our loyal fans.

  21. jamman says

    If you are Phil Robertson and you take a controversial position on a hot button topic your employer should ban you.

    If you are Chris Kluwe and you take a controversial position on a hot button topic then your employer should not ban you.

    GAy: We want what we want whenever we want it exactly as we want it and you are hater. Every f*cking time.

  22. MickyFlip says

    A’ight Chris. Bravo. It’s official. I really like you now. But seriously, thank you for your courage and for standing up on our behalf. A very courageous and humble athlete who stands by his convictions. Thank you so much for all you have done and will do.

  23. James says

    Meanwhile, no word from the Wilf Family, owners of the Vikings, who want to not make any waves, since they have just extorted $340 million from the City of Minneapolis—$675 million when interest is included—- plus another $300 million from the State of Minnesota, for a new stadium. Gawd knows they will feel much better being a crummy team playing in a stadium that cost over a Billion $$.

  24. Mark says

    the bigot has “vehemently denied the accusation” that he’s a bigot. he doesn’t think he’s a bigot; no one ever does. but he hasn’t said that he didn’t say those things, because he most probably did say them, and there are other witnesses to it.

  25. DM says

    Mm, I don’t know what I think about this. I don’t think you should ever talk about a past employer like that. It’s not classy, even if it’s justified.

    But the thing really is that Kluwe wasn’t a key player. He was a decent punter. He was cut the same reason Tim Tebow was: there are better players that don’t attract media attention for off-field antics. Both of those players are on different sides of the spectrum–it’s not about what they said, but the fact that they’re saying something their boss finds to be a headache and detrimental to a team.

    It’s nothing like Duck Dynasty because Duck Dynasty is A&E’s highest rated show, Phil Robertson was the star, and the rest of the cast threatened to walk out. That’d be like firing Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots walking out, which would be unthinkable. Kluwe is expendable, Robertson is not, and that’s unfortunately how it works sometimes.

  26. jjose712 says

    jamman: You are stupid beyond belief.

    Roberton was not fired, in fact, A&E didn’t do anything at all, because they suspended in the period they were not filmed.

    Kluwe didn’t insult anyone, he take a position on gay rights, that’s all.

    Frankly, i think a lot of posters here are not even gay, because i refuse to belief the worls is so full of uncle toms.
    Some people seems glad to accept others to spit them because hey, they didn’t bash us, so it’s a gain.

    Kluwe showed in the past he is a real ally, but for some people that doesn’t matter at all. Maybe he makes them feel bad for not having the guts to defend themselves

  27. Mike says

    Sour grapes. IF he was such a great punter. Someone else would have hired him. So the entire league colluded to keep him out of a job? Extremely unlikely. I predict in 3 weeks time other news will leak out…..hang on….while all the screaming about him booted for his views crescendos. He is looking for the mercy contract like Jason Collins. Truly an act of desperation. Nobody dare say the Emperor Has No Clothes when it was because he was gay or supported gay rights….

    Crappy over paid talent…..attracts no new contract offers. Shocking.

Leave A Reply