Chris Kluwe is finally opening up about the end of his days with the Vikings. And when I say “opening up” I mean “opening up.” As in “opening up a verbal can of whup ass on the men responsible for the termination of his Vikings career.”
The title tells you pretty much where Kluwe is coming from. “I Was an NFL Player Until I Got Fired By Two Cowards and a Bigot.”
The bigot is Mike Priefer, Vikings special teams coach. The cowards are Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman.
Kluwe writes, “Allow myself to tell you a story about … myself. The following is a record of what happened to me during my 2012 season with the Minnesota Vikings, written down immediately after the 2013 draft in April, when I realized what was happening, and revised recently only for clarity. I tried to keep things as objective as possible, and anything you see in quotes are words that I directly recall being said to me.
This is a story about how actions have consequences, no matter how just or moral you think your cause happens to be, and it’s a story about the price people all too often pay for speaking out.”
Kluwe recounts how he became involved in the debate over gay marriage. He talks about his infamous “lustful c**kmonster” letter. He talks about how Leslie Frazier responded to his outspokenness.
On Sept. 8, the head coach of the Vikings, Leslie Frazier, called me into his office after our morning special-teams meeting. I anticipated it would be about the letter (punters aren’t generally called into the principal’s office). Once inside, Coach Frazier immediately told me that I “needed to be quiet, and stop speaking out on this stuff” (referring to my support for same-sex marriage rights). I told Coach Frazier that I felt it was the right thing to do (what with supporting equality and all), and I also told him that one of his main coaching points to us was to be “good men” and to “do the right thing.” He reiterated his fervent desire for me to cease speaking on the subject, stating that “a wise coach once told me there are two things you don’t talk about in the NFL, politics and religion.” I repeated my stance that this was the right thing to do, that equality is not something to be denied anyone, and that I would not promise to cease speaking out. At that point, Coach Frazier told me in a flat voice, “If that’s what you feel you have to do,” and the meeting ended. The atmosphere was tense as I left the room.
He talks about how Vikings owner Zygi Wilf directly contradicted Frazier’s stance, instead encouraging Kluwe to continue speaking out.
He talks about how Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer used “homophobic language” in his presence.
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.
He accuses Priefer of deliberately running him out of town simply because Priefer disagreed with his political views.
He talks about receiving a text from Rick Spielman advising him to “please fly under the radar please” after fans complained about his tweets about the pope.
In summary, Kluwe says:
So there you have it. 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.