Before Chris Kluwe announced his retirement on Friday and threatened to sue the Vikings for “workplace discrimination,” the Vikings announced they would conduct an independent investigation, a former teammate took said Kluwe’s allegation that his position coach was a homophobe and made anti-gay comments were “reprehensible,” and conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said this was equivalent to the march in Selma for Kluwe.
On Thursday, Kluwe published an article in Deadspin that accused his position coach Mike Priefer of being a “bigot” and a homophobe who made anti-gay comments when Kluwe expressed his support for gay marriage. Priefer later issued a statement “vehemently” denying Kluwe’s allegations.
The Minnesota Vikings will conduct an investigation into Kluwe’s allegations. According to reports, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney Chris Madel will review the case.
2. Kluwe Gives Multiple Interviews, Says NFL Would Rather Have ‘Felons And Racists And Abusers’:
In one interview, Kluwe blasted the NFL for supporting “racists,” “felons,” and “abusers” while blackballing him.
In an ESPN interview, Kluwe said former teammate Blair Walsh took the side of his position coach to not get blackballed. “The main thing to look at is from the players’ perspective,” Kluwe said. “If what I’m saying is true — that I was run out of the league for speaking out — and if they take my side, they would risk falling under that same umbrella. The NFL is not an easy league to get into. I would be surprised if any came to my side, although it would be very gratifying.”
He said he did not have recordings of Priefer’s homophobia, and admitted that he made “serious statements,” and it is ultimately up to him to “provide the evidence.”
“The thing is, I made serious statements,” Kluwe said. “If it comes down to it, I have to provide the evidence.”
3. Blair Walsh, the Vikings place kicker, issued a statement in defense of his position coach. Kluwe was released during Walsh’s rookie season with Minnesota. He said Kluwe’s allegations were “reprehensible”:
I have been a member of the Minnesota Vikings for 2 years. I want to start off by saying I have the utmost respect for Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier and Mike Priefer. All three, are good men.
I have had countless conversations and interactions with Coach Priefer, and I personally can attest to his integrity and character. His professionalism in the workplace is exemplary, and I firmly believe that my teammates would whole-heartedly agree. The allegations made today are reprehensible and totally not compatible with what Mike Priefer stands for.
As we all know, in the NFL you must perform at the highest level and meet the performance expectations of your coaches, management, and ownership. If these expectations, based upon past performance AND future potential for excellence, are not met, your NFL career with that team, is over. I believe this was the case with Chris, and it is unfair to think that his release was anything other than football related.
In my time here at Minnesota, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier have exemplified true leadership. Contrary to Chris’ statements, they have promoted a workplace environment that was conducive for success. At no time did I ever feel suppressed or that I could not be myself.
I firmly stand behind Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier, and Mike Priefer.
4. Rush Limbaugh: Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said this is the “equivalent of the march in Selma.” Limbaugh said it is convenient for people to champion a leftist cause and claim their employers were bigots if they get fired:
He thinks of himself as an equal-rights spearhead. I mean, he’s out there leading the charge for human equality, dignity, and all of this…. He believes that gay marriage should be legal under the concept of human equality, that homosexuals denied the right to marry are being denied equality, and that is his impetus. That’s the main thrust of his argument that he’s making here, and he’s been very outspoken about it for a number of years, but the piece that he wrote in Deadspin names and quotes people, and if they did say what he’s quoted them as saying, it’s pretty bad stuff.
But they’re all denying it. Well, at least the special teams, the position coach is a fevered denial. But I guess for Kluwe this is Selma, the equivalent of the march in Selma.
Limbaugh then said the Kluwe saga basically says, “If you think you are about to lose your job, you immediately become an advocate for a very far left-wing cause, and then when you lose your job, blame the employer for getting rid of you because he’s a bigot.” He said though he is not saying Kluwe is doing that in this case, “It’s an interesting technique. I’m not saying Kluwe did it, but there’s a lesson here for others. Others have done this, by the way. I’m not saying Kluwe did it.”