Chris Kluwe has never been afraid to speak his mind.
And the former Minnesota Vikings punter didn't hold back in an article he wrote for the website Deadspin. In it, Kluwe blasts special-teams coach Mike Preifer, general manager Rick Spielman and recently fired coach Leslie Frazier for how they handled him when he decided to lead a local charge for gay rights in Minnesota.
Kluwe, who has been outspoken about issues regarding equality rights for those in the LGBT community, called Preifer a bigot, for using homophobic slurs around him during the 2012 season. He called Spielman and Frazier cowards for not standing up to Preifer's beliefs.
The article theorizes that Kluwe was cut due to his beliefs on the topic of same-sex marriage, given that Preifer, according to Kluwe, was not a supporter of gay rights.
During a special teams meeting attended by Kluwe and his then-teammates, Preifer allegedly said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”
This kind of talk, according to Kluwe, happened on more than one occasion.
“Mike Priefer also said on multiple occasions that I would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible,” Kluwe wrote in the Deadspin article. “He said all this in a semi-joking tone, and I responded in kind, as I felt a yelling match with my coach over human rights would greatly diminish my chances of remaining employed. I felt uncomfortable each time Mike Priefer said these things. After all, he was directly responsible for reviewing my job performance, but I hoped that after the vote [for the Minnesota Gay Marriage Amendment in 2012] concluded in Minnesota his behavior would taper off and eventually stop.”
In the past when he was asked why he was released by the Vikings last May, Kluwe said he didn't know if his outspoken stance on the topic led to his firing. He does maintain that thought to a degree. Kluwe doesn't know for sure if he was cut due to his support for gay rights issues.
But based on his recollection of events, Kluwe does believe it played a part in why the Vikings dismissed him. He also mentioned that the Vikings never told him they would draft a punter, which they did in the fifth round by selecting Jeff Locke.
Kluwe concluded his article by stating he's sure his NFL career is done. He realizes punters are easily replaceable in the eyes of those in NFL front offices, and that by strongly criticizing two coaches and a general manager, he'll surely be black-balled around the league.
But his overall goal of writing the article was noted. He hopes Preifer never coaches another game in the NFL.
Kluwe wrote: “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. (According to the Pioneer Press, he is “the only in-house candidate with a chance” at the head-coaching job.) 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.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.