The big investigation into Chris Kluwe‘s allegations of wrongful termination by the Vikings and homophobic utterances by Mike Priefer has been finished for some time now, and according to a report the results of that investigation will soon be coming down the pike. And the report could contain some bad news for Mr. Priefer.
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report tweeted this on Monday:
I’m hearing Chris Kluwe report could be released very soon and report is favorable to Kluwe. @ChrisWarcraft
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) June 30, 2014
“Favorable to Kluwe” is vague enough that it could mean a lot of things, but we have to assume that any report generally favorable to Kluwe is going to be generally not-favorable to Priefer. And since Priefer stands to lose more than anyone else if Kluwe’s allegations are found to have merit…well, let’s just say if there’s anyone out there who has reason to be tense, it’s Priefer.
I don’t necessarily think Priefer will automatically be fired by the Vikings, unless the report contains some huge bombshell. It’s possible, even likely, that Priefer will receive some token discipline, the team will make some public apology and we will all move on.
The wild card in this whole thing is Zygi Wilf. We know from Kluwe himself that Wilf expressed support for Kluwe’s stance on gay marriage before the whole unpleasantness with Priefer and GM Rick Spielman was unleashed. And we also know that Wilf is very sensitive about the image of his team. So it’s possible that Wilf could swoop in and terminate Priefer himself, if he believes it’s in his best interest to do so.
Unless Priefer did something really evil that we’re not already aware of, I don’t believe a termination is called for. The alleged homophobic remarks were vile and inexcusable but it’s not like he murdered someone or kidnapped a baby. Not everyone needs to be fired every time they screw up, even if it’s a royal screw up.
The one part of this story that I don’t believe Kluwe can be totally vindicated on is his allegation that the Vikings cut him for purely political reasons. Priefer may have been rubbed the wrong way by Kluwe, but it’s also true that Kluwe was not a great punter, and the Vikings had every cause in the world to dump him for performance and salary reasons.
Kluwe’s vehement insistence that his release was entirely about his outspoken stances has always struck me as the weakest part of his overall effort. Sometimes he comes across a little too self-righteous for his own good, and it hurts his underlying message.
If he would just give in a little and admit that the Vikings did have good business-related reasons to cut him, I’d have more sympathy for his cause. But I guess he feels such a concession would hurt his overall position as a martyr for free speech.