Chris Kluwe calls for Priefer's firing, mulls hostile workplace claim [INTERVIEW]

Categories: Chris Kluwe
kluweout560new.jpg
Tony Nelson
In fall 2012, leading up to Minnesota's vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, I spent about a month tailing Chris Kluwe for a City Pages cover story -- the Vikings punter who became an unlikely celebrity for the Vote No campaign. Over our many interviews, Kluwe spoke in depth about how the locker room culture toward LGBT people was rapidly changing across the major league sports gamut.

But evidence to the contrary was playing out in Kluwe's own locker room, according to a column the ex-punter published on Deadspin Thursday.

In the article, provocatively titled, "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards and a Bigot," Kluwe says he's "pretty confident" the Vikings let him go as punishment for his off-the-field activism. Among the evidence Kluwe offers are alleged utterances from special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer (the "bigot"), who has been rumored as a potential candidate for the team's head coaching position. According to the post, Priefer regularly made homophobic comments after Kluwe came out in favor of gay marriage, saying in one meeting, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."

The Internet just about blew up, as it does, and there's already a viral campaign to prevent Priefer from getting another NFL coaching gig. Priefer issued a denial, and the Vikings say they will review Kluwe's claims, noting his dismissal was "strictly based on his football performance."

We caught up with Kluwe Thursday afternoon to talk about his post, the response, and what happens next.

See also:
Chris Kluwe pries open the last closet in America: major league sports [Cover Story]

City Pages: What's the feedback been like today?

Chris Kluwe: It's been about normal for the Internet. Had people saying, "Hey thank you for speaking out, thank you for saying what you do." And then people saying, "We hope you get eaten alive by ferrets." You know, about normal.

Have you heard anything from the Vikings?

CK: Nope, but I have like 18 unanswered voicemails on my phone that I need to get through, so I'll see if there's one or two in there.

Based on your post, it sounds like the blowback from Frazier started pretty quickly [in fall 2012]. When did you start to see the writing on the wall in terms your imminent dismissal?

CK: When they drafted the punter in the fifth round. Up until that point, I thought me and T.J. Conley would be competing for the spot, which, again, like I said in the piece, I thought was a fair choice for the team to make. Because maybe I don't come back from my knee surgery properly, maybe I'm not kicking as well as I used to. But that's a choice you make as a team. But when you draft a punter in the fifth round, then that's clearly your -- that's your guy. So at that point, I was like, "OK, I need to write this stuff down because this is a story I'm going to want to tell some day."

But before that, even though Frazier was calling you into his office, you didn't think your job was in jeopardy?

CK: No. I figured it would blow over after the season was over. The [gay marriage] vote would happen one way or another, and we'd go back to playing football.

Do you think Frazier specifically took issue with what you were saying, or just the fact that you were taking a public stance on a political issue?

CK: I think in Frazier's case, it was more taking a public stance on a political issue. Every head coach in the NFL wants their team to be the one that no one talks about. So pretty much anyone who does anything is told, "Don't do that thing." And like I said in the piece, I felt that it was something that I needed to speak out about, because it was the right thing to do, and I felt like I could have an impact.

What makes you think that?

CK: Because he never made any comments to me about, you know, either homophobic or about this isn't a particular thing you should talk about. It seemed to be more of a general, "Just don't bring media attention to the team." Whereas, with coach Priefer, it was very much a, "I don't agree with you on this specific issue." And I'm not going to cast aspersions on coach Frazier's character when nothing he said makes me believe that that's what he believed.

You mention Zygi coming to your corner early on in all this. Where was he later on though when you really needed him? Did he ever come back and take your side again?

CK: This was all happening inside the locker room, and Zygi's not really in the locker room. He's very much a hands-off owner. That's how he runs his team. So it wasn't something I really felt comfortable bringing up to him. Like I said, I was hoping it would blow over at the end of the season and I could go on with my job. But as it turns out, that wasn't the case.

My Voice Nation Help
44 comments
cardiecl
cardiecl

Bush league and reckless journalism to place the quote Mike Priefer is alleged to have made (which he denies) next to his picture.

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

I thought Kluwe was a good guy until this. Bottom line is if what he said about the vikings special teams coach is true then Kluwe tolerated it just fine until after he was let go and until AFTER he failed to make any other team in the NFL. Kluwe should stop embarrassing himself and get a real job.

David Olson
David Olson

Can't wait for the Vikings to sue him for libel. :)

KrisTheSane
KrisTheSane

Hilarious


Kluwe blasts his former employers for firing him for his opinions, then whines that they need to fire Preifer for his opinions....


Not too PC, lol

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

I care nothing for professional sports (which is but one of many circuses) and long for the day when people stop making idols out of athletes. Was CK over the hill and due for replacement, was he punished for speaking out on a controversial issue, or was he just generating too much negative publicity? I don't know and I don't care. I would have sympathy and respect for CK if he would stand up for people with opposing views, but in similar situations, like Phil Robertson.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

The NFL (or most organization) by nature do not like causes Left or Right. The format is "Shut up so i can pay you lots of money" and that's fine. Kluwe exemplifies Democrats and the left: Pissed off, In your face, never happy, mischaracterize, ostracize, divide, and Scorched Earth Tactics. He is not helping his cause.

BJamesBrooks
BJamesBrooks

I agree that these comments should not be attributed to the coach without some more evidence. Posting a banner with the coach's photo and a quote of the "nuke the island" comment is poor form and terrible journalism. This is a story but only if it can be verified and not solely based on one man's accusation. The timing along with his statement that he hopes this stays between him, the two coaches and the GM is comical. He wrote the Deadspin article and is now going on several radio and tv talk shows to discuss it??? Doesn't sound like a guy who is trying to keep it contained. Chris Kluwe is not a "dumb jock" in fact he comes across as a pretty bright guy therefore his comments come across as disingenuous. He is a prolific user of social media and would certainly have known the impact his original article would have in this arena. It certainly doesn't help his cause that no other team picked him up. Losing your identity as a professional athlete, not to mention the paycheck, can be very hard for people and this has a hint of a guy that needs to find a reason for that that doesn't involve his diminished skills that come with age. I wouldn't know if that's the case because I haven't done the work of looking into it deeper just like CP hasn't done the work to see if what Kluwe alleges has legs.

Dave Salmonson
Dave Salmonson

But if he got a hillbilly make over to sell duck calls, well then it would be cool for him to air his opinions.

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

I did in fact read Kluwe's piece in its entirety. His "quotes" he willfully admits to be the "best of his recollection". As a fully employed practicing journalist myself, I would not be comfortable putting my name on these glorified TMZ pieces.

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

Seriously, reading comments on City Pages is costing me my sanity. It shows the incredible amount of ignorance in my state and it's so disheartening. I know there is ignorance everywhere but I didn't know there was so much of it here. See also: PETA bikini post comments. Who new redneck was breeding and thriving so much in the cold?

Shawn Kuiper
Shawn Kuiper

Megan if he were to file a claim after he arrived Oakland whom is a different employer Oakland would have probably had to keep him instead of cutting him cause he could not do his primary job punt the football. His excuse is as lame as his allegation. The guy wants someone to pay him for speaking out on issues he believes in, that is fine then go work for an advocacy group and not expect to be on the payroll of an NFL team as a position player when you can't perform the position anymore...

Amanda Celeste Jaeger
Amanda Celeste Jaeger

All your questions would be answered if you had just read the interview and Kluwe's original piece. The CP is not publishing his article as *the truth*; they are just reporting the fact that *it was published*. CP even uses the word "allegedly" to describe the coach's actions. They are just reporting an interview where Kluwe says words; that's what news outlets do. Reporting news is supposed to be all about facts; but when one side refuses to talk to the press, that doesn't mean the other side should not be aired.

Dewey Schmidt
Dewey Schmidt

Why bring it to light now? Cause he don't have a job?

Scott Buss
Scott Buss

I think he has a new book out or coming out.

Chad Howard
Chad Howard

Ben Leber just finished destroying Kluwe on KFAN. Kluwe avoided answering the tough and direct questions and made it all out to be me, me, me when he did provide an answer. This is nothing more than a butt hurt, nobody wants me, must make my name relevant somehow story. It's available for listening on the KFAN Power Trip morning page.

Gregg Gustafson
Gregg Gustafson

We need moral leadership like this. Thank you, Chris Kluwe.

Megan Lefebvre
Megan Lefebvre

to the people asking why he waited, if you actually read the full piece on deadspin, he outline very clearly why he waited to talk about this.

Michael Schoenherr
Michael Schoenherr

I think it took a huge amount of courage for him to speak out, and use his celebrity to expose hate and intolerance, knowing it would end his NFL career. He's a leader, the world needs more of that

Chad Howard
Chad Howard

He's just saying these things now.... a year after he was released?

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

Shawn, City Pages have never let those pesky facts, or any sort of objective reporting get in the way of a good story!

Shawn Kuiper
Shawn Kuiper

I am a bit confused because Kluwe says this is what happened it somehow makes it a fact? Has anyone (CP) found anyone to confirm or back up his story? Why wait till now to bring this to light? I mean if this really happened why not bring it up the day he got cut? Are we creating news by reporting anything anyone will say that inflammatory or are we reporting news based on facts? I think we all agree if true it needs to be dealt with but what if it is NOT true? Then what? Do you retract your story and not give Kluwe the free platform to spew that he does not deserve? If not true you may be costing others their jobs for no reason. News is suppose to be about facts and when you only have one side you don't have all the facts.

DBleezyJonez
DBleezyJonez

@citypages Why is Chris Kluwe so interesting to you guys? Because he once played football and has ambitions that aren't football related?

brakinggnus
brakinggnus

@license2confuse A&E said that was the reason they suspended Phil. The Vikings have denied it. Do you comprehend the difference?

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

oh good, more news about a guy who wasn't worth $1M a year to punt in the NFL. can we get an update on Ryan Longwell, too?

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

Take Heart Lily White Liberal Ann, since Liberals don't have kids much, our legacy is breeding just fine.  See also:  Abortion reducing population.  

Onan
Onan

He explains the timing with valid points if you read the whole thing.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

On the Contrary.   He came out with this article after not getting picked up by any other team.   His Scorched Earth Democrat tactics will keep him out of a Job.  Now he can go Non-Profit.

_Joe_
_Joe_

He explains the timing with valid points if you read the whole thing.

cheepsoda
cheepsoda

@AnalogErik @panopticon13 @citypages @AndrewMannix Not if he's a public figure, Priefer would have to prove actual malice on the part of Kluwe to even start a defamation of character / libel suit. Anyone familiar with media law knows that proving malicious intent is very, very hard.


MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@kurt124 Too bad your mom didn't have one.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@MicheleBachmann Ssshhh.... She doesn't run a newspaper.  She's editor of the entire internet.  Now we just have to get Rupar to respect her authoritay!

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@kurt124 @MNjoe Was your birth one of those? Is that why you're such a conservative moron?

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@MNjoe@kurt124MN Joe, To make yourself feel better go watch a Partial Birth Abortion, loser.

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...