Posted January 02, 2014

Ex-Vikings punter Chris Kluwe rips ‘coward’ Leslie Frazier, ‘bigot’ Mike Priefer

Minnesota Vikings, NFC North
Chris Kluwe remains a free agent.

Chris Kluwe remains a free agent. (Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

Chris Kluwe’s days with the Minnesota Vikings ended, for all intents and purposes, when the franchise selected fellow punter Jeff Locke in Round 5 of the 2013 draft. Kluwe then was released in May, briefly latched on with the Raiders in the preseason and then spent the season a free agent — his eight-year NFL career looking all but over.

In a scathing column on Deadspin posted Thursday, Kluwe revealed his belief that not everything was above board regarding his Minnesota release. Kluwe, an outspoken gay-rights advocate, railed against his former team, and in particular special teams coach Mike Priefer. According to Kluwe, ex-Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier was uncomfortable with Kluwe’s vocal stance.

Kluwe wrote:

“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 [general manager] 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.”

Kluwe recounted in detail a series of events he alleges occurred beginning in the summer of 2012, when he agreed to work in support of Minnesotans for Marriage Equality.

On Sept. 8, the head coach of the Vikings, Leslie Frazier, called me into his office after our morning special-teams meeting. … 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.”

Frazier was let go by the team earlier this week, after a 5-10-1 season. Kluwe did make a point to mention that team owner Zygi Wilf voiced his support for Kluwe’s public stance.

Update (4:30 p.m. ET): The Vikings released a statement in response to Kluwe’s comment, which read:

“The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe’s allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter.

As an organization, the Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level. The team has long respected our players’ and associates’ individual rights, and, as Chris specifically stated, Vikings ownership supports and promotes tolerance, including on the subject of marriage equality. Because he was identified with the Vikings, Chris was asked to be respectful while expressing his opinions. Team ownership and management also repeatedly emphasized to Chris that the Vikings would not impinge on his right to express his views.

Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance.

We will have further comment at the appropriate time.”

Most of Kluwe’s anger appears to be directed at Priefer, who remains on the Vikings’ staff as it awaits a new head coach.

Throughout the months of September, October, and November, Minnesota Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer would use homophobic language in my presence. He had not done so during minicamps or fall camp that year, nor had he done so during the 2011 season. He would ask me if I had written any letters defending “the gays” recently and denounce as disgusting the idea that two men would kiss, and he would constantly belittle or demean any idea of acceptance or tolerance.

Near the end of November, several teammates and I were walking into a specialist meeting with Coach Priefer. … We were laughing over one of the recent articles I had written supporting same-sex marriage rights, and one of my teammates made a joking remark about me leading the Pride parade. As we sat down in our chairs, Mike Priefer, in one of the meanest voices I can ever recall hearing, said: “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”

Update, 6:30 p.m. ET: Priefer has issued a statement of his own on this matter, per ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling.

“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.”

Back in June, Priefer refused to go into specifics about Kluwe’s release, but said he felt “very strongly” that the Vikings needed to part ways with the punter.

“It was more consistency and productivity,” Priefer said in a response to a question about what factors, statistical or otherwise, contributed to the decision.

Asked if Kluwe could have improved his production, Priefer said simply, “I just felt like we needed to make a change there.”

“A lot of people like to write and report that he and I didn’t get along,” Priefer said. “I have a lot of respect for Chris Kluwe. I think, based on what he’s done in his career, as a man and as an athlete, and for anybody that stands up for what he believes in like Chris did, I have a lot of respect for guys like that.”

643 comments
SelimaMalek
SelimaMalek

I don't understand why or how ANY sports fan can actually say he was cut for performance reasons.... Just look at the Mans stats over his NFL career...

Chis Kluwe is an EXTREMELY EDUCATED and thoughtful man, perhaps the NFL is not used to their players having actual thoughts and opinions on things. Who knows. What I do know is the NFL has much bigger issues at hand when they think it's okay to keep convicted fellons on the payroll. The league should stand proudly behind, and strive for even more men like Ayanbadejo and Kluwe in their organization. The fact that they evidently don't well..., doesn't that speak for itself in favor of Chris Kluwe's pontifications... Come on people use your head here what does Kluwe have to gain by saying or doing any of this at this point in the game? (pun intended)

BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro

Klueless just STFU--the world is tired of your whining.

rwreed17
rwreed17

@Bull you definately seem like the annoying prick to me. @Bobbie johnson fu you infantile loser! May all of your children be born sterile.

rwreed17
rwreed17

These bigots are on the wrong side of history. They are the flatearthers and segregationists of times past. Their kids and grandkids will be ashamed of the way they believe. Luckily, time sweeps away the stupids. They aren't even aware that they have already lost, young people (the future voters) overwhelmingly support gay rights and same sex marriage. Also, it's funny that they are calling Kluwe a whiner, when all they are doing in their posts is crying and complaining!

DavidBlank5
DavidBlank5

lot of gay bashing going on here ,bull3117 better be on guard as i heard if gay touch him he will catch the gay

bull3117
bull3117

Kluwe is an annoying prick.  I wouldn't want a distraction like that in my locker room.  And guess what??  I wouldn't want a guy with a testosterone shortage in my locker room either.  You need tough, mean men in the locker room, not some hippie with a political stance.

coreysuydam
coreysuydam

The Bengals were not even interested in Kluwe when they lost Kevin Huber for the season.  That really says it all.  The Bengals will sign anyone, including career criminals.  That's why Adam Jones is still on the team.  Kluwe was rejected for performance issues, nothing more.

coreysuydam
coreysuydam

Kluwe's claim is ridiculous.  No NFL GM would ever ditch a good player because of their political views.  Winning is just too important to them for that.  That's why teams put up with all sorts of whiners, jerks, and outright criminals.  If a player is good, a team will do everything they can to keep them on the field.  NFL players are not being oppressed.  They are being forgiven for things that most people can never get away with.

rodp236
rodp236

This guy is a whiner---if you can punt, the NFL doesn't care about something as insignificant as his big mouth..... Your career is over and now he can stock store shelves again- something he can do all day long( and piss and moan at break time). 

Uhclem49
Uhclem49

“The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe’s allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter."

Yup. A thorough and no-doubt impartial investigation will follow, as evidenced by the following later in the statement:

 "Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance."

And there you have it CYA all the way.

tookidz
tookidz

Kluwe,  You were a good punter at one time but what a sad excuse of a person you are to blame your employment issues on Vikings management because of your big mouth. When your boss tells you to shut-up then you shut-up, follow directions. Also, IF you were as good a punter as you say, then why were you not picked up by another team. OHH, blame on the Vikings management again, are you going to say you were blacklisted, another excuse. Your age and your mouth are your problem, and for whatever it is worth I stand behind the cause.

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

Can any of you self righteous supporters of same sex marriage explain to me why you don't also support polygamy?  

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

Kluwe is another self-righteous liberal who views dishonesty as a means to a noble ends.  Kluwe, fu. 

jthewelderguy
jthewelderguy

If it's not about performance, then why did the Raiders let him go? Are they bigoted as well?

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

lol. Just want to say thank you to the tea party and the likes of rush & hannity for destroying the republican party. The US is a better place without 'em in charge.

MS_CommonSense
MS_CommonSense

I'm going to come out in strong support of SSM. That way, I can start sucking at my job and then just call my employer a bigot when she fires me.

MikeHuser1
MikeHuser1

I think it speaks to a big problem in our society. Don't talk about religion and politics because they are divisive issues. So we just sweep them under the rug because it's too unpleasant to talk about? We did that for 70 years with slavery. We NEED to be talking about this stuff. But with our societies lack of social issues and terrible collective intelligence, I can see some justification in hiding from the big problem. Gene Wilder once said, "You've got to remember that these are people of the land... You know... Morons." Until our nations mean IQ bumps up about 10 points, we'll be stuck in a land of intolerance, bigotry, selfishness, and hate.

And btw: if you're forming your opinions from Fox news or any other right wing prop machine, you are someone who listens to your own personal bias rather than listen to actual fact and logic.

rodp236
rodp236

@Uhclem49 It doesn't deserve an investigation. Get a life................

ChuckCanning
ChuckCanning

@bobbie johnson  Easy answer, Bobbie.  The legal argument against relates to the inherent problems that arise polygamist societies, rather than in individual polygamist relationships.  In the traditional polygamist society (which are actually polygynist in practice), there becomes a serious issue resulting from the inevitable population imbalance - too many men, not enough females.  The fix is to purge males from the society - which usually occurs through the excommunication and forced exile of rebellious teen and pre-teen boys from the community (lost boys).  Even worse, the shortage of females results in the practice of “placement” or assigned marriages of girls, usually as soon as they reach puberty.

BillieBob
BillieBob

@bobbie johnson 

Can any of you self righteous bigots explain to me how gay marriage hurts hetero marriage in any way? Didn't think so...

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

@Richard--Ramirez You're right--I mean having the government run by the likes of Nancy Pelosi has been great for this country; exhibit A--Obamacare.  These idiots STILL don't know what they voted for.  

MikeHuser1
MikeHuser1

@Richard--RamirezI disagree. Always find balance in the world. The tea party have unbalanced it so bad that they actually created a term for more 'sound of mind' repubs. They are now called RINOs, or republican in name only. Which is funny, because that's how I feel about the American Taliban... ie the Tea Party.

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

@MS_CommonSense, I think you're missing a key point here: he's not getting his job back just because he calls someone a bigot, and neither are you. He's just stating an opinion. So you could just as easily come out in strong opposition to SSM, start sucking at your job, and call your employer a bigot when she fires you. There's really no difference. Capice?

Tom52
Tom52

@MikeHuser1and BTW is you're forming your opinions from MSNBC, Huffpo, CNN, CNBC, et al. or any other left wing propaganda machine well then you are incapable of original thought and are allergic to fact and logic.

Eric66
Eric66

@MikeHuser1I love how tolerant you are.  If someone is conservative and doesn't agree with your view of the world then they are biased and don't listen to actual fact and logic.  Well I happen to be conservative and actually feel exactly the same way about people who lean left.  They don't listen to fact or logic or they wouldn't be promoting the same old policies that have failed in the past and have failed all over the world.

DallasMorris
DallasMorris

@MikeHuser1  And btw: if you're forming your opinions from Fox news or any other right wing prop machine, you are someone who listens to your own personal bias rather than listen to actual fact and logic


Stop it! Just stop! I was with u for the first paragraph, then you go there with the FOX and right wing crap. So I guess CNN, NBC, and the like are the bastions of truth?

donald5
donald5

@MikeHuser1 Right... because multiple left wing sources of media (pretty much most of the others) is where we should be getting our "news".

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger

@MikeHuser1 Plus work is work. Work is not a social platform. You're supposed to do your job and are paid for it. I don't voice my political opinion at work b/c I'm paid to do my job.

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger

@MikeHuser1 Blah blah blah. Travel the world and see for yourself. The bigotry in the US is far less than in most countries on this Earth. Coming from Europe I've seen more racism, antisemitism, and sexism there. 

MikeHuser1
MikeHuser1

@DallasMorris@MikeHuser1Well, NBC, yes. Not MSNBC. They are separate in their news gathering operations than NBC news. CNN was the best port in the storm... but they've really lost a few steps in the past few years... but if you think Fox news is an acceptable piece of journalism, then you sir are one of those "people of the land" I was talking about. I don't have time to show you the evidence. But if I did, this stuff would make William Randolph Hearst blush.

MS_CommonSense
MS_CommonSense

Wait, wait, wait...are you calling the NBC news networks "fact and logic"???

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Just another Obama drone...

MikeHuser1
MikeHuser1

@donald5@MikeHuser1If it's one thing I've learned it's this: the left has a much better track record than Fox and the right wing. Granted, the entire spectrum of media has way too much bias in it... it's just that Fox news has a lot of blatant disregard for fact (Jesus wasn't white). Don't believe me? Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and politifact's Lies of the year for 2009, 2010, and 2012 (11 and 13 belong to the left). Now, lets look at the lefts poster children: Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams, Cronkite, Murrow, and all of 60 minutes. I'll take the latter, thank you. 

MikeHuser1
MikeHuser1

@mrfrogburger@MikeHuser1You bring an interesting point to the argument. Thank you. Yet, he wasn't the voice of the minnesota vikings or the NFL on the matter. Was he attending gay rallys with his jersey on? I don't know. I'm guessing he was doing that on his own time (yeah, i know, public figure, got it). It doesn't change the fact it still needs to be talked about. Europe, here, anywhere. Peyton Manning bangs broads on the reg while married to his wife ashley. Should he be fired because he does something that society deems wrong?

donald5
donald5

@MikeHuser1 @DallasMorris "I don't have time to show you the evidence".  That is a great internet debate ender.  Well I don't have time to show you how biased the lack of reporting on stories is from the left.  They simply skate around the false reporting by COMPLETELY IGNORING and failing to report stories that might make the left look bad.  And FYI, none of the people you mentioned from FOX are news anchors.  They are opinion shows.  They don't claim to be reporters.

Tom52
Tom52

@MikeHuser1@MS_CommonSensebacktracking isn't going to gain you any points. You're still a moron. Like MSNBC is really pushing Christie. I think your mom is calling for you to go to bed.

MikeHuser1
MikeHuser1

@MS_CommonSenseOh yeah, and I'd really like Christie to run. Republicans need him to be the standard bearer. I think he's the only one that can really fix that charlie foxtrot (cluster... you know).

Tom52
Tom52

@MikeHuser1@donald5You mean like Martin Bashir, or Alec Baldwin? this would be funny if you weren't so serious. As it is, it's alarming that you are so far out of touch with reality. Talk about someone who only wants to hear that which he agrees with . What a dumbass.

donald5
donald5

@MikeHuser1 @donald5 I'm sure you heard about this "much better track record" from ... oh yeah... from the left.  Congrats.

Tom52
Tom52

@mrfrogburger@MikeHuser1he isn't a 'protected class" so he can't use that. His performance was poor, he was cut by the Seahawks after they originally signed him, singed by  the Vikes, played 8 seasons and was cut again only to land in Oakland who cut him again. There are reports that he worked with several more teams after that and none of them signed him either. The Vikings stance is that he was fired for performance reasons. He'll never be able to convince a jury otherwise with all the evidence against him.

Tom52
Tom52

@MikeHuser1@mrfrogburgerhey dumbass the constitution only guarantees that the govt. can't shut you down. It doesn't apply to a private business. Talk about a clueless moron, you fit the bill. I'm sure you were all in favor of Phil Robertson keeping his job after making homophobic comments, right? You hypocrite.

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger

@MikeHuser1 @mrfrogburger Also it's not the entire society that deems it wrong. A part of it and a smaller and smaller part of it. But since you're into self loathing mode, I guess you can say the entire society deems it wrong to prove your point.

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger

@MikeHuser1 @mrfrogburger Was he fired because of that? First a NFL player is different type of employee because they can get cut and contracts are not guaranteed. I remember he lost his battle against the young Raiders punter. So he may not have been as good as he says. If he thinks he was discriminated against, he can always file a  lawsuit.

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger

@MikeHuser1 @mrfrogburger That's not what I'm saying. As an immigrant I am just sick and tired of the self loathing mindset that I'm seeing in the US, particularly on the left. Like it's the worst place on planet Earth. Racism and all bigotry are part of human nature. I mean look at France. Antisemitism is on the rise like in the 30s. So just tired of it.