Chris Kluwe: "I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot"

Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Kluwe talks with Deadspin about the end of his NFL career and the Vikings

Former Minnesota Vikings and UCLA Bruin punter Chris Kluwe has attracted attention for many things both during and after his time in Westwood, but what has garnered him the most attention in the mainstream is his vocal advocacy of civil rights/equality and specifically, the issue of gay marriage.

With the Vikings' season over, Kluwe wrote on Deadspin about his belief that he was fired over his advocacy and not his performance and as you'd expect of someone with a UCLA education, he makes a pretty solid case, along with revealing some of the more disturbing details of just what a toxic work environment the NFL can be:

Mike Priefer also said on multiple occasions that I would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible. He said all this in a semi-joking tone, and I responded in kind, as I felt a yelling match with my coach over human rights would greatly diminish my chances of remaining employed. I felt uncomfortable each time Mike Priefer said these things. After all, he was directly responsible for reviewing my job performance, but I hoped that after the vote concluded in Minnesota his behavior would taper off and eventually stop.
Priefer is/was the Vikings special teams coach and the "vote" in this instance was over Minnesota's gay marriage law. While it's obvious that not everyone agrees with Kluwe's stance on the issue, I don't know if there's anyone who can think that the following isn't totally out of line:
As we sat down in our chairs, 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 room grew intensely quiet, and none of the players said a word for the rest of the meeting. The atmosphere was decidedly tense. I had never had an interaction that hostile with any of my teammates on this issue—some didn't agree with me, but our conversations were always civil and respectful. Afterward, several told me that what Mike Priefer had said was "messed up."
These are just bits and pieces of Kluwe's story, so I highly encourage everyone to go over there and check out the whole thing. One has to wonder if fellow Bruin Brendon Ayanbadejo has similar stories to tell.

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