January 02, 2014

Chris Kluwe Knows His NFL Career is Over: Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has written a tell-all for Deadspin about his final season with the team, including allegations that Kluwe's outspoken support for gay marriage caused special-teams coach Mike Priefer to make highly bigoted remarks about gays at player meetings. Priefer, who is reportedly being considered to succeed fired head coach Leslie Frazier, allegedly said, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows" (via Bender).

posted by rcade to football at 04:49 PM - 4 comments

I want to believe that a player wouldn't be let go for speaking out on an issue he feels passionate about, particularly when it's clear that it's his views and not the team's, but it certainly sounds like he could be right. Of course, punters are a lot more expendable than quarterbacks, even if they are the best in franchise history. Also, I'm sure this wouldn't be the first time that happened.

There is something to be said for how much of a distraction it could have been, though. Were all of the media requests--certainly unprecedented for a punter--distracting him or others from preparing for games? I certainly have no way of knowing that, though if his accounts of Priefer's actions and comments are accurate, that clearly wasn't the objection that he had.

posted by bender at 04:59 PM on January 02

I don't think a player should be fired over expressing his personal views, particularly when he's promoting tolerance. But Kluwe's own account makes clear he was becoming a distraction and had even stepped into other hot-button issues like the Catholic church's role in child abuse.

There aren't many NFL execs who'd want to deal with that, particularly for a punter.

I was hoping before this that his NFL career wasn't over. But I figured it probably was.

posted by rcade at 05:09 PM on January 02

I was hoping before this that his NFL career wasn't over. But I figured it probably was.

Ditto. I was happy to hear that the Bengals brought Kluwe in for a tryout when Huber got hurt, but not at all surprised when they went with a different guy, especially in light of the new controversy-averse ethos in Mike Brownville. Of course, the fact that the guy they chose lasted all of 1 game before being released may indicate that Kluwe wasn't exactly Cincinnati management's first choice, regardless of his performance in the tryout.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:16 PM on January 02

Kluwe in 2012 was an average punter making well above the average for an NFL punter.

I am not naive enough to think that his advocacy had nothing to do with his getting cut, but he completely glosses over the other factors involved. $1.6m to $497k was the math. For a team as bad as they are, swapping a 30-year old kicker for a 24-year old one and saving some money makes sense.

Also, nowhere in his account is the part where the Raiders signed him this offseason and cut him because he got outkicked. He got paid this year. He was given another shot and didn't kick very well.

I like the guy and think he was brave for what he did, but I don't think it's necessarily something other than kicking that's keeping Chris Kluwe from a job.

posted by dfleming at 08:40 PM on January 02

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