Because a picture of Kluwe giving the NFL Commish the middle finger would have been too easy
Ever heard armchair quarterbacks or those fantasy guys who forsake family and country for a good six hours every Monday night at the local wings and beer joint call punters “uncool,” “wimpy,” or even “not real football players?”
Of course you have. To wit, I challenge those dudes to give former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe a call and tell him that. There is no question his latest actions to take on the evil empire known as the National Football League are nothing but “tough.”
ICYMI: Kluwe was the Vikings’ punter from 2005 to 2012. While he was only a decent “foot” in the league, he was known for one thing in particular—his ardent support for gay rights. When he was cut, Kluwe always said that he would write about his experiences.
Whelp, he did and the NFL is still asking itself how to spell “h-o-m-o-p-h-o-b-i-a.”
If you have about 35–45 minutes to kill, read this letter that Kluwe wrote to Deadspin regarding his personal feelings about life as a Norse pillager on the gridiron. To summarize, let’s use this single golden nugget among many:
“It’s my belief, 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,” wrote Kluwe.
While those actions are reprehensible, it can be argued that Kluwe was cut simply because he wasn’t all that great. This fact notwithstanding, your mouth will fall open and steam will come racing out of your ears when you read further excerpts:
“Mike Priefer, in one of the meanest voices I can ever recall hearing, said: “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”
The letter is going to become the fodder of legend for activist groups like GLAAD because the stuff Kluwe discusses is arguably what happens when dozens of overgrown boys in a locker room tire of playing grab ass with each other and start talking about all the people they hate. However, no one has ever made that stuff public.
Given that Kluwe never kept his feelings about gay rights a secret, his reasons for going public may come down to personal convictions:
“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.”
Or, then again, maybe not.