Chris Kluwe: Mike Priefer is a ‘bigot,’ Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman are ‘cowards’
It is no secret that former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe believes his outspoken stance against gay rights cost him a job in the NFL. Kluwe was one of the better punters in the league for several years, and he was unexpectedly replaced last year when the Vikings chose to draft a punter in the fifth round. Kluwe discussed all that and more in a lengthy piece he wrote for Deadspin.
The column, which is worth reading in its entirety, is mainly meant to expose Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer as a bigot who was ultimately responsible for Kluwe’s termination. After Kluwe had written some articles supporting same-sex marriage in Minnesota, he recalled a time when Priefer made a shockingly homophobic remark during a special teams meeting.
“We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” Kluwe claims Priefer said.
Kluwe said that his Vikings teammates, some of whom disagreed with his stance but were always respectful, agreed that what Priefer said was “messed up.”
After Kluwe wrote to a Maryland politician and chastised him for his stance on gay marriage last September, he said then-head coach Leslie Frazier called him into his office twice to ask him to keep quiet and stop calling attention to himself. Between the first and second meetings, Kluwe said Vikings owner Zigi Wylf told him he was proud of him for speaking out. Frazier supposedly agreed — reluctantly — that he had been overruled.
During and after that time, Kluwe said Priefer would frequently use homophobic language in his presence — something he had not done in previous months or years.
“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.”
Kluwe said he believes he was fired by Priefer, whom he called a “bigot.” He said that Frazier and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman were “cowards” so they did nothing about it. But most of all, Kluwe is hoping his written account costs Priefer a job.
“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,” Kluwe wrote. “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.”
Even if he keeps his job, you can expect Priefer to have to address these allegations and change the way he acts.
UPDATE: Priefer vehemently denied Kluwe’s allegations. The Vikings also released a statement.