I don't want to be writing this right now.
It's a gorgeous summer evening in July. In Minnesota. A Friday evening, no less. You realize how rare those are, right? I'm supposed to be helping my wife prepare us for a nice cabin trip that we leave for bright and early tomorrow morning. I should be outside on my porch, sipping a Stone IPA and enjoying our quaint St. Paul neighborhood.
Instead I'm upstairs in our home office, hacking away on my laptop, talking about a special teams player that hasn't suited up for the Minnesota Vikings for nearly 19 months due to the veritable shitstorm he has stirred up with the franchise over the past several weeks.
I really hoped that I could just sit this one out. Not because Kluwe's claims, Mike Priefer's suspension, and the controversy surrounding the situation aren't important. Far from it. It's just...well, I honestly don't know what to think about this whole mess. And that's not really allowed in today's First Take world of black-and-white opinions and "you're either with me or against me" totalitarian mentalities. So since I didn't have a definitive opinion either way based on the information I had, I thought I could just let this story skate by as I patiently waited for the 2014 season to arrive.
But noooooooooo, Kluwe just had to go on his latest rant and decide to sue the team tonight. Since I write about the Vikings, I don't really have a choice but to give my two cents on the matter.
But then again, with every Deadspin diatribe and Twitter tirade (and wow, tonight's tirade from Kluwe was certainly a doozy), I feel more and more frustrating questions keep popping up instead of clear-cut answers. In fact, aren't unanswered questions sort of all we have right now? Sure, we all have our opinions of what we think really happened based on the "facts" that are out there. But in the end it's really all he-said-he-said and we're left to decipher it.
If you're looking for someone to decipher it for you in this article, you're going to be sorely disappointed. I just want to express some of the questions I have about this mess, give you some brief thoughts about them, and then never have to write about this ever again. Fair enough? OK then, let's go:
Who's telling the truth: Kluwe or the Vikings?
I truly think Chis Kluwe is telling what he believes to be the absolute truth. Is he telling the full truth and nothing but the truth? I sincerely doubt it. Then again, the Vikings most likely aren't either. The real truth is some shade of gray in the middle of the two extreme positions on the matter. Where this truth actually lands on the gray spectrum between the Vikings and their former punter isn't clear, which is why this story is so maddeningly divisive.
Is the three game suspension of Mike Priefer justified?
That depends on who you choose to believe. If he did everything Kluwe claims, then Priefer got off easy. If Kluwe chose to make a big stink about a few off-color comments (which Kluwe admitted he made about Jerry Sandusky and Penn State while with the team), then the punishment was probably a little harsh. If Priefer started with some jokes in poor taste but it escalated into something more offensive and derogatory, then the punishment probably fits the crime as long as the incident was isolated. But again, we really don't know even with all the claims made by both sides.
If Kluwe had caught on with the Raiders after being cut by the Vikings, is any of this happening right now?
This one is sort of rhetorical, but it's worth asking. If Kluwe was still in the NFL, it's hard to believe that he'd be going all scorched Earth on the Vikings right now. Does it mean that Kluwe is definitely just a sore loser and is only doing this because he's pissed that he got canned? Of course not. But Kluwe's timing has consistently brought the validity of his statements into question since the beginning, whether or not it's justified. And that's unfortunate for everyone involved.
Why is Kluwe suddenly bringing up issues the Vikings "ignored", such as two Vikings players being "caught in a compromising position with an underaged girl"?
You got me there. I have no idea how Kluwe thinks claims like that are helping his cause. It just smacks of desperation for attention. Even if his claim is 100% true, why suddenly bring it up now? Shouldn't such serious allegations have been included along with his complaints about Priefer?
I won't even address the debate of whether or not Kluwe broke some sort of unwritten "locker room code" with this allegation--that's irrelevant. It's 2014; we're all well aware that not all professional athletes are the greatest people. From the Love Boat to Aaron Hernandez to Josh Gordon to countless other examples, I think we all realize that pro athletes aren't above some of the abhorrent behavior the rest of the population is capable of. So if Kluwe wanted his original claims to be taken more seriously, I don't understand how he thinks airing others' dirty laundry is going to help that.
When is this all going to be over with?
This question is rather rhetorical too. You know it and I know it, and we both hate it, but this isn't going anywhere for a while. Kluwe doesn't just pick up a cause and drop it after a while like my 14 month old does with a toy. Say what you will about the guy, but he's undoubtedly one determined m-fer that will always stick to his guns. Just know that this is the last that I'll be writing about him unless something really huge changes the story entirely.
You may notice that you are unable to comment on this story. That's by design. Unfortunately, this topic is simply too polarizing for most of us to discuss with a level head. Every time Kluwe is brought up on Daily Norseman, the conversation quickly degrades into an online version of flinging handfuls of feces at each other. That's no fun for anybody involved, especially for those of us that have to monitor the threads. If you really have a pressing comment or issue with my thoughts, feel free to share them with me directly on Twitter. I'll do my best to get back to you when I return from my weekend trip.
Which brings up one final question:
Did you know that there are only six days until Training Camp?
Thank f*cking goodness.