NFL’s Chris Kluwe Says He was Fired For Marriage Equality Support
Chris Kluwe, a former punter for the Minnesota Vikings, wrote a scathing piece for Deadspin on Thursday, claiming he was fired from the football team because of his strong support for same-sex marriage.
Though the athlete writes he is not 100 percent certain he was let go for being an ally, he says he is "pretty confident."
"In May 2013, the Vikings released me from the team," Kluew writes. "At the time, quite a few people asked me if I thought it was because of my recent activism for same-sex marriage rights, and I was very careful in how I answered the question. My answer, verbatim, was always, ’I honestly don’t know, because I’m not in those meetings with the coaches and administrative people.’"
The athlete goes on to outline the events that he believes led to his departure from the team and rips into coach Mike Preifer, calling him a bigot.
"... based on everything that happened over the course of 2012, that I was fired by Mike Priefer, a bigot who didn’t agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, Leslie Frazier and 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. (Frazier was fired on Monday, at the conclusion of a 5-10-1 season.)
"One of the main coaching points I’ve heard throughout my entire life is, ’How you respond to difficult situations defines your character,’ and I think it’s a good saying. I also think it applies to more than just the players," he adds.
Officials from the Vikings have yet to respond to Kluwe’s column.
Throughout 2012, the athlete made headlines for being a strong supporter of marriage equality, offering support for LGBT organizations and taking interviews with LGBT media.
"Someone (from Minnesotans for Equality) contacted me on Twitter and asked if I’d be interested," Kluwe told Outsports.com back in 2012. "I said yes. I’ve always believed that people are inherently the same and should have the same rights and equal protection under the law. It really doesn’t matter what you do with who or whom as long as you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights. Everyone should be free to live their own life however it makes them happy."
Soon after, Kluwe was cut from the Vikings he tweeted: "Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything."
It appears that Priefer has had issues with Kluwe’s support for gay marriage. The Associated Press reported in December 2012 that Priefer said the athlete’s staunch support for marriage equality is "getting old."
"He’s got to focus on punting and holding," Priefer said.