So I'm minding my own business a while ago, and this comes across my Twitter feed:
Welp, crossed the Rubicon today. Sometimes life ain't pretty, folks. So it goes. http://t.co/lfwhu7I3mk— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) January 2, 2014
Highlights...or lowlights, depending on what your view of Kluwe and/or the gay marriage issue is. Oh, before we go any further...this WILL NOT degenerate into an argument over gay rights. We all have our opinions, and I doubt a flame war on a message board will change them. However, whether you agree with Kluwe on whether or not his stance on the issue got him released, and the actions of Frazier/Spielman/Priefer are fair game. I'm serious on this. If this turns into a pissing match about the overall issue of marriage equality, I'll lock this thread. Okay? Okay.
Basically, Chris Kluwe contends that he was released primarily because of his views of and advocation for the Marriage Amendment in Minnesota that was voted down in the last election. He doesn't defintively say he was, just that it's his belief that he was.
He specifically calls former coach Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman 'cowards'. For what, I'm honestly not quite sure. He paints special teams coach Mike Priefer as a homophobic bigot, and cites some ugly examples while doing so. I'm not sure if he thinks Frazier and Spielman are cowards for not standing up to Priefer, or not backing him as he spoke out on his views.
On the other hand, he paints an opposite picture of owner Zygi Wilf, who he claims shook his hand and told him to keep speaking out on the issue, and that, at least temporarily, gave him top cover from Frazier.
I always admire someone who speaks their mind, whether I agree with them or not, as long as it's intelligent and not filled with jingoistic talking points. In this case, Kluwe laid out a well articulated, circumstantial, and damning (if not verifiable) case against Priefer, Frazier, and Spielman. He did it knowing full well he would destroy any chance of him returning to the NFL, and I tweeted as much to him:
@ChrisWarcraft I kind of admire your ability to wire a bridge with explosives and completely obliterate it.— Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye) January 2, 2014
It was a gutsy thing to write in the sense that he essentially committed ritual seppuku on his NFL career. As to whether or not it will change minds or the NFL culture? Not in the short term. To be honest, NFL coaches are, by nature, very team first guys that hate distractions. I doubt any guy that the Vikings will interview would have done anything different than Frazier or Spielman did. And I don't think it would matter what the social issue is, to be honest. Any kind of press that isn't football related is discouraged. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that's just the way the NFL is in this day and age.
And even though he builds a circumstantial case against the Vikings, at the end of the day, he was still just an okay punter. He wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible. He was also expensive and coming off of an injury, so you can make a legitimate argument that he was released for his average play, and getting somebody to replace him at the same production for a cheaper salary was a completely legitimate move by the team.
Either way, this paints the Vikings in a bad light just as they are undergoing a search for a new coach. Will it dissuade a guy from coming to the Vikings? Quite frankly, I doubt it. Let's face it, like I mentioned earlier, if Kluwe's account is accurate, I would bet every guy they're going to interview (so by extension their next coach), would have reacted in a manner very similar to Frazier. They would have asked him to stop and quit being a distraction. Would another coach have cut him over it? I'm sure there are many that would have, and I'm sure there are many that wouldn't have.
And my other question is: why now? Why not do this when you were released from the Raiders? Well, he's doing it specifically to ruin Mike Priefer's chances of becoming a head coach, or even get another coaching job in the NFL:
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.
So, Vikings nation, do you agree with what Kluwe did?