Kluwe: Vikings Punted Me For Being Gay Ally

506px-Chris_KluweIt’s a case of he said ? and he, he and he said. The Minnesota Vikings quickly disputed former punter Chris Kluwe’s claims he’d possibly been fired for being a staunch gay ally. Kluwe accused the NFL team of ousting him in a deadspin.com post:

It’s my belief, based on everything that happened over the course of 2012, that I was fired by [Special Teams Coordinator] Mike Priefer, a bigot who didn’t agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, [former Vikings Head Coach] Leslie Frazier and [Vikings 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.?

Here’s part of the Vikings’ official response, according to a press release:

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.

Kluwe said the Vikings’ legal department gave him the green-light to work alongside Minnesotans for Marriage Equality. Problems started brewing once he began campaigning for equality. Priefer, who never used homophobic language before, allegedly began spewing it, according to Kluwe.

We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.

Priefer, he said, punctuated homophobic comments with pointed criticism of Kluwe’s performance. Priefer responded to Kluwe’s accusations in a press release, which includes a strong denial and lays blame at Kluwe’s feet. Priefer said Kluwe attacked his reputation and hurt his family.

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.?

Frazier told him to quit campaigning for marriage equality, Kluwe claims, but backed down when the punter said Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf supported his efforts.

Chris, I’m proud of what you’ve done. Please feel free to keep speaking out. I just came from my son’s best friend’s wedding to his partner in New York, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.


Edited by DH.

Jason Carson Wilson is a Chicago-based freelance writer with more than 10 years of journalism experience. Wilson previously worked as a staff writer for daily and weekly newspapers throughout downstate Illinois. He also contribute to the Windy City Times. Wilson, a gay, African-American, is a first-year Chicago Theological Seminary student. He covers stories about GLBT rights, human rights, marriage equality, politics, race, and religion.