Kluwe 'Done' with Football, Has No Recordings of Coach's Alleged Homophobia
On Friday, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe announced he was "done" with football a day after he published an article that accused his former position coach of being a homophobe and indicated that the Vikings cut him from their roster before the season because of his support for gay marriage.
"I had a good eight years," Kluwe told USA Today. "And it's time to move on."
He said the Vikings were probably under "strict legal orders not to talk to me," and emphasized that "everything I said was true." He said he did not have recordings of assistant coach Mike Priefer's homophobic comments, but he said he had "a number" of witnesses.
"I'd prefer to leave the number of witnesses unstated until it's necessary, just because I would rather not drag those guys into it. But there are multiple witnesses," he said. "I didn't record anything. It didn't occur to me until afterwards that, oh, yeah, it'd be great to have recordings of these."
He chimed in on the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito case and said Martin, like himself, was a "victim."
"We have to look at who we are and what we do and understand that until we make those changes, until we understand that people are human beings – people deserve the right to have their own opinions here, no matter what those opinions might be, they deserve the right to speak those opinions as long as they're not harming other people, Kluwe said. "That's the basis of a free-speech society. To this day and age, we still don't have that yet. We still have problems with discrimination and people getting fired from their jobs for speaking out on social issues. Well, what does that say about us as a society?"
Kluwe said his coaches told him to "kick it high and kick it short so our coverage teams can cover it," and that is why he did not have the best punting averages because he was following orders.
He emphasized that, "to me, the primary reason why I got cut is because Mike Priefer did not agree with my social issues, and he did something about it." He reiterated that he did not want to see Priefer get a head coaching job, which was the motivation for his writing the article.
"No. I don't think I'm going to punt again in the NFL. Especially writing a piece like this, then you become known as the guy who ratted out on a coach," he continued. "You're known as the guy who broke the locker-room silence. Frankly, coaches are going to look at it and they're going to be like, well, if we picked up this guy, he's obviously going to bring media attention with him now. People are going to be following what he does. Honestly, at this point, I've played eight years. I had a good eight years. And it's time to move on."
When asked whether he ruined Priefer's life because he is now forever "painted as a homophobe," Kluwe said, "he is a homophobe."
On Thursday, Kluwe published an article in Deadspin in which he accused Priefer of homophobia and anti-gay comments. Priefer has since issued a statement "vehemently" denying Kluwe's allegations. On Friday, the Minnesota Vikings announced they would conduct an independent review of Kluwe's allegations.