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Kluwe, Priefer, and the Homophobic Environment of the NFL

Whatever your opinion of this investigation, it will force the NFL to address an environment that needs to change


I'm sure you've all read more posts on the Kluwe/Priefer situation than the number of hoodies I have in my closet (that would be roughly 55).  If it weren't for the fact that the investigation into the allegations against special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is about to conclude, we wouldn't really even be discussing any of this again.  I was honestly trying to come up with a topic for my rookie post, (shout out to fellow DN writer @ccnorseman) when I had a very interesting Twitter conversation this morning.

Several people on Twitter expressed that Priefer shouldn't be fired, even if the allegations are proven to be true, but rather suspended a few games and sent to "sensitivity training".  My argument was if (and that's a big if) the allegations are true, Mike Priefer should be fired.  It was suggested to me that people can change and that sensitivity training might work.  I balked immediately, because we all know if the alleged remarks had been against black players, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

The NFL (and let's be honest, most men's professional sports in general) support a culture of homophobia that would not be tolerated if it involved race instead of sexual preference.  For people to suggest that Mike Priefer should be given a pass (again, if the allegations are true), is ridiculous.  I'm also stunned at the number of people who've attacked and discounted Chris Kluwe through this whole ordeal.  Here are some of my thoughts on that:

Kluwe is not a stupid individual.  He's an attention whore and an egoist, but he is far from stupid.  I do not believe for a second that he would have made these allegations if he did not have proof to back it up.  I'd bet my first born that the text message records do confirm that Kluwe and Walsh discussed this whole thing via text.  Yes, Blair Walsh issued a statement in support of Priefer (well, duh), but he NEVER denied the allegations.  I think this is an important piece of the puzzle.  Kluwe also offered to take a lie detector test to the investigators.  I mean, who does that if they are lying?

Do I think Mike Priefer made those gay slurs?  Yes, I sure do.  Do I think he should be fired for it (if those allegations are, in fact, true)?  You bet your ass I do.  Do I think Kluwe used this to promote his own agenda?  You bet your ass I do.  He waited until he was released to come forward with these allegations, which makes me sick in many ways. While I'm glad he brought this situation to light, I really wish he hadn't waited until he was cut to do so.  It makes him look like a petty and vindictive person and negates his credibility.  Still, this does not negate the fact that these comments were allegedly said by Priefer, and the Vikings organization and the NFL need to take a stand, if Kluwe's side of the story is proven to be true.  These kinds of things cannot continue to be allowed to happen.

The recent generation of Vikings fans will not tolerate anti-gay slurs.  That culture is changing rapidly, and the NFL needs to get on board.  Allowing a coach to remain on staff that promotes that kind of working environment is asking for trouble, most likely in the shape of a lawsuit.  I respect that fact that Mike Zimmer kept him on staff until the investigation was completed.  If he keeps him on staff and the Kluwe allegations hold up, however, I will be seriously pissed. The NFL has a tremendous culture of homophobia and that has to change.  Every time an owner and a head coach sweep something like this under the rug, it pushes pro football further into the past.

In summary, Chris Kluwe is an attention whore and an egoist.  Mike Priefer (if the allegations are proven to be true) is a homophobe.  The NFL, as a culture, is extremely homophobic.  And all of these things need to change.