Chris Kluwe thinks so. The football player has accused top members of staff at the Vikings of firing him because of his vocal support for same-sex marriage. But, according to the team, their decision to let him go had nothing to do with Kluwe’s views.
So who is telling the truth?
According to a Deadspin article published on Thursday, Kluwe alleges he was “fired by [Special Teams Coordinator] Mike Priefer, a bigot who didn’t agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, [then-Head Coach] Leslie Frazier and [General Manager] Rick Spielman […] who lacked the fortitude to disagree with Mike Priefer on a touchy subject matter.”
He claims he was let go from his post as punter for eight seasons straight when he began speaking up for same-sex marriage in 2012.
At the time, Kluwe, working closely with the LGBT rights group Minnesotans for Marriage Equality, fought to defeat the Minnesota Gay Marriage Amendment, which sought to define marriage as being between a man and woman in the state’s constitution. (Voters eventually voted against the amendment and same-sex marriage has since been legalized in Minnesota).
That year, Kluwe made headlines after writing a blistering open letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett Burns, in which he blasted the politician for his “vitriolic hatred and bigotry.” Burns had previously written a letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, in which he demanded that Brendon Ayanbadejo, who was the Ravens’ linebacker at the time, be stopped from publicly endorsing same-sex marriage.
In fact, Kluwe says that then-Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier approached him the day after his letter was published and asked him “to be quiet, and stop speaking out on this stuff.”
In the days and months that followed that first incident, Kluwe says that he was not only approached on different occasions by Frazier and Spielman with similar requests to be silent, but he was also ridiculed and treated unfairly by Special-Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer.
Kluwe also alleges that Priefer often used anti-gay language in front of him and the team. “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” Kluwe quotes Priefer as saying at a November team meeting.
The Vikings responded, releasing this statement regarding Kluwe’s accusations.
Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance.
Well damn! Hopefully someone can get to the bottom of this “he say/he say” case because this is just messy.