Chris Kluwe, former Minnesota Vikings kicker and staunch LGBT ally, dropped a bomb on the NFL yesterday when he alleged the anti-gay bigotry of one coach, and the cowardice of two others, led to his being cut from the team in 2013.
In a lengthy post on Deadspin, Kluwe pointed a finger specifically at special-teams coach Mike Priefer. Kluwe enumerated several incidents where Priefer made gross homophobic statements, including one team talk where he allegedly announced “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”
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. 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.
Kluwe also blamed Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman, whom he called “cowards” for not standing up to Priefer: “Both [Spielman and Frazier] 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.”
Minnesota Vikings management has vowed to investigate Kluwe’s claims:
The Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level…
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.
Priefer, though, shot back with a personal statement:
I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe. 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. The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way.
As a coach, I have always created an accepting environment for my players, including Chris, and have looked to support them both on and off the field.
The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family. While my career focus is to be a great professional football coach, my number one priority has always been to be a protective husband and father to my wife and children.
I will continue to work hard for the Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf family and all of our loyal fans.
Y’know, it’s funny: Mike Priefer claims Kluwe’s allegations of bigotry have hurt his family, But his teen son, Michael Priefer, Jr, can’t stop spewing out anti-gay comments.
In a series of tweets, the younger Priefer called people “gay” so often we thought he might have Tourette’s Syndrome (Source: Imgur):