Chris Kluwe declines White House invitation in favor of Oakland Raiders camp

Chris-Kluwe-VikingsOakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe saw his time with the Minnesota Vikings end amid a bit of controversy earlier this offseason. Simply put, there are a number of people who feel Kluwe would still be a Viking if he was not so outspoken when it comes to equal rights.

Last week, Kluwe made a loud statement about his commitment to the Raiders by turning down an invite to the White House. He was invited to the LGBT Pride Reception, which is being held on June 13. That date happens to fall in the middle of mandatory minicamp.

For those of you who can’t make it out, here is what the email said.

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Chris Kluwe believes being a human rights activist could get him cut

Chris KluweOver the past several years, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has been one of the most outspoken players in sports when it come to advocating for gay rights. Last year, he wrote an enthusiastic letter to a politician who was against gay marriage. He has also discussed gay players in the NFL on prominent shows such as “The Colbert Report.”

Now, Kluwe is wondering if the attention he has brought to the issue of gay players in the NFL could lead to his release.

“It’s a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut,” he reportedly wrote in a text message to Pro Football Talk.

The Vikings used a fifth-round pick on former UCLA punter Jeff Locke over the weekend, so it seems like Kluwe’s days with the team are numbered. He even alluded to the fact that he could be cut when he tweeted this picture after Locke was taken by Minnesota.

It should be noted that Kluwe is outspoken about more than just human rights. Last season, he wore this patch on his shirt before a game to make a point about punters being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Shortly thereafter, Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said some of the distractions Kluwe brings to the team are getting old. In many ways, the writing was already on the wall. Minnesota’s decision to draft a punter confirms what we and Kluwe already suspected.

Chris Kluwe quotes ‘Dodgeball’ after Minnesota Vikings draft Jeff Locke

Chris Kluwe had a humorous response to the Minnesota Vikings seemingly replacing him by drafting punter Jeff Locke. Kluwe really quoted the movie “Dodgeball.”

Chris KluweThe Vikings used their fifth-round pick (No. 155 overall) on Locke, another former UCLA punter. Locke was the first punter selected in the draft, and you have to figure Minnesota intends to have him start right away.

The draft pick signals bad news for Kluwe, who has been with the Vikings since 2005. Kluwe was set to make $1.4 million this season, so the team may cut him. We also know that one of his coaches was growing tired of his outspoken ways.

Kluwe seemed to see the move coming. A tweet he sent on Thursday expressed uncertainty over his status with the team:

The interesting thing will be to see if another team picks him up. Kluwe’s outspoken ways may cost him some opportunities, but a team that needs a quality punter would likely be willing to overlook that.

Chris Kluwe: Gay players would fear coming out because it could prevent team winning

Chris Kluwe has been an outspoken supporter of gay rights, and he has said there are gay players in the NFL. But one thing he believes would prevent gay players from coming out is the fear that such an announcement could distract a team from achieving its goals of winning.

The Minnesota Vikings punter made his comments during an interview with Anita Marks on NBC Sports Radio Sunday. He was asked what would keep an athlete from coming out when he gave his answer.

“It really is the attention issue,” said Kluwe. “It’s the fact that they would be the first person coming out and there would be so much media and fan attention on that player that it could risk them losing their job.

“Coaches are notoriously against distractions in the locker room,” he continued. “Whenever anyone is getting a lot of attention, they tend to look at it as a bad thing because they’re worried that you’re not focusing on football.

“It really comes down to the fact that coaches and the teams are just worried that this might prevent the team from winning games.”

Kluwe believes there are gay players in the NFL based on the percentages.

“There’s definitely gay players playing in the NFL. Simple statistics have said it’s anywhere from probably 10 to, like, 50. You look at the sample size of gays in the United States they’re around 10 percent. With 1,800 players in the NFL, that’s about 180 guys you’re talking about. So there’s definitely gay players.”

The Vikings punter also agrees that the best method for players to come out would be as a group, the way Brendon Ayanbadejo mentioned last week.

“I don’t know when anyone specifically is going to come out, but it would be nice to have guys to come out as a group to lessen the attention any individual person would have to deal with.

“Hopefully someone does come out eventually because no one should have to hide who they are. That’s not what this country was founded on.”

Kluwe’s comments should not come as a surprise. Last December, Minnesota’s special teams coach said Kluwe’s outspoken ways were becoming a distraction. Luckily Kluwe has a specialized role on the team as a punter, which makes it easier for him to focus on his job. If it were a player playing a more prominent position who had to deal with all the distractions, it’s easy to see how that would make a team concerned.

Chris Kluwe on gay players in football: ‘You’d be surprised’

chris kluwe vikingsMinnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is an advocate of free speech and tries fighting injustice whenever he sees it. He is supportive of gay rights, and he has become known for the impassioned letter he wrote attacking a politician who was against gay marriage.

Kluwe’s outspoken nature landed him a spot on Comedy Central’s “The Colber Report” Tuesday, and it was during his interview with the host, Stephen Colbert, that he hinted there are more gay players in football than one would think.

Skip to the 1:55 mark in the video:

Football is considered one of the roughest sports in the world and only reserved for the most masculine athletes on earth. For those reasons, many prejudiced people would have a hard time believing that gay men could be professional football players. But like Kluwe says, you would be surprised.

No player has come out and revealed he was gay while playing, though some of come out after they were done playing. Many current and former football players say they would support a gay teammate.

H/T Off the Bench

Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer: Chris Kluwe’s distractions are getting old

Chris-Kluwe-VikingsMinnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is one of the most outspoken players in the NFL. Some of the stuff he says and does is entertaining, but Kluwe can be annoying in the sense that he is one of those people who seems to think everyone cares what he has to say about everything. In fact, even Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has grown tired of it.

On Thursday, a reporter jokingly asked Preifer if he was going to hide the tape from Kluwe this weekend so he couldn’t stick another pro-Ray Guy patch on his uniform and get himself into trouble. Preifer clearly didn’t think the stunt was amusing.

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” he said according to the Star Tribune. “Those distractions are getting old for me, to be honest with you. Does Ray Guy deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there are other ways to go about doing it, in my opinion.

“To me, it’s getting old,” Priefer said. “He’s got to focus on punting and holding.”

Priefer was then asked if he had spoken to Kluwe about it and he said he hasn’t because the punter “won’t listen.”

Whether it’s calling Hall of Fame quarterbacks nasty names, using a whiteboard to mock the commissioner or swearing it up on Twitter, Kluwe is always looking to get a rise out of someone. Should the Vikings decide to part ways with him, he would likely get a job punting elsewhere. If not, Kluwe certainly has a future as a pundit — whether its in sports, politics or both.

Chris Kluwe supports Ray Guy with note over Hall of Fame patch (Picture)

Chris Kluwe is one of the most outspoken players in the NFL, so it’s no surprise that he used his platform as a punter for the Minnesota Vikings to campaign for Ray Guy to be voted into the Hall of Fame.

All NFL teams had patches on their jerseys Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As seen in the screenshot above, Kluwe decided to cover his patch with a message that read, “Vote Ray Guy.”

“Of course, I’m going to get fined,” Kluwe told 1500 ESPN after the game. “For me it’s hard to support a Hall of Fame that doesn’t recognize punters. If you took a kid into the Hall of Fame and that was the only thing they knew about football, they would have no idea that punters even played the game. Why am I going to support a Hall of Fame that does that? So, vote Ray Guy.”

Guy is considered to be the greatest punter in NFL history. Drafted in the first round of the 1973 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders, he reached the Pro Bowl seven times and was voted All-Pro three times. He averaged 42.4 yards per punt for his career, and his punts were so high and far in distance, they led to the concept of “hang time.”

Last month, Guy went off about the lack of punters in the Hall of Fame (none have been elected). Kluwe wrote a long complaint in response where he called Hall of Fame voters “petulant, ignorant, and flat-out stupid” for keeping Guy out of Canton.

Though special teams is a smaller part of the game than offense or defense, is still is important. Guy was an extremely valuable player, in many ways an innovator, and he was the best ever to do his job. I’m really not sure what more the Hall of Fame is looking for out of a player. There really is little justification for keeping him out of the Hall. It just seems spiteful at this point.

H/T Deadspin