I appreciate Chris Kluwe, the former punter of the Minnesota Vikings who unceremoniously called out a Maryland politician with his Deadspin article "They Won't Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster..." His writing is stylish and charming, and Kluwe has drawn a great deal of attention to a subject far too neglected by this country. His appearance on The Colbert Report in support of his book, "Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies" sure has candor, and was great fun to read. However, I take issue with his latest Deadspin piece, "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot."
In his newest essay, Kluwe argues that he was subjected to homophobic language late in his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, and eventually lost his job because he spoke out in support of gay marriage. Specifically Kluwe claims that Mike Priefer, the Vikings' special teams coach (Kluwe's positional boss, if you will), was openly against homosexuals and intolerant of those who support gay rights. Kluwe includes a story in which Priefer tells players he thinks queers should be put on an island and killed. Kluwe also says that Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and now former head coach Leslie Frazier decided to get rid of him because they didn't care for his views, referring to them as cowards in title.
These are all disappointing allegations to read, and the Vikings organization are taking them seriously, as they should. There is no need for discrimination, intimidation, or retaliation in any job setting. However, what Kluwe fails to mention in his latest essay is that he was just as likely cut because of poor play and more affordable options. The Vikings paid him over a million dollars per year, but have since gone into a rebuilding phase for their team, the worst in its division. Jeff Locke, the punter who replaced Kluwe, is eight years younger and his contract is $500,000 less. That, and Locke is, well, better than Kluwe.
When Minnesota cut Kluwe he was picked up by the Oakland Raiders on May 15, 2013, and was released four months later in favor of Marquette King, a player seven years younger, and much more affordable. Oh, and Oakland is a franchise rebuilding too, just like Minnesota. Kluwe's activism and writing is admirable, and his allegations of what happened in Minnesota should be taken seriously, but I would also like to know why the outspoken writing-punter thinks Oakland cut him. Perhaps the Bay Area just isn't ready for a gay rights and Sparkleponies.
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