Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was released just prior to the start of the 2013 season. According to him however, it had nothing to do with performance, and more to do with his personal beliefs which he was not scared to share. Kluwe, who had been with the Vikings since 2005 said his long tenure with the team supports the fact that it wasn’t a talent issue and that they had grown tired of him speaking publically about what he believes in. Hit the jump for more.


Deadspin broke the story first where Kluwe said “I was an NFL player until I was fired by two cowards and a bigot”. The 3 people he is referring to were special teams coach Mike Preifer, head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman. Most of the animosity seems to be directed at Preifer, who was the coach Kluwe had the most direct contact with. According to Kluwe, Priefer criticized the punter throughout the 2012 season for his support of same-sex marriage, allegedly saying in a November team meeting that “we should round up all the gays, send them to an island and nuke it until it glows.”

Preifer’s reply to the story was “I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member. The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family. While my career focus is to be a great professional football coach, my number one priority has always been to be a protective husband and father to my wife and children.”

The Vikings organization itself also chimed in:
The Vikings issued a statement Thursday saying they would review Kluwe’s allegations. They also said there was no ulterior motive for his release.

“The team has long respected our players’ and associates’ individual rights, and, as Chris specifically stated, Vikings ownership supports and promotes tolerance, including on the subject of marriage equality,” the statement read. “Because he was identified with the Vikings, Chris was asked to be respectful while expressing his opinions. Team ownership and management also repeatedly emphasized to Chris that the Vikings would not impinge on his right to express his views.

“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.”

Kluwe said he was scared to make more of a big deal about the supposed derogatory comments made by coaches when he was still with the team because “that’s how you find yourself out of a job”. But once he was cut anyway, he had tryouts with a few other teams and was never offered a contract. He feels the sole reason for that is teams not wanting to be associated with him after the treatment from the Vikings. This story pretty much boils down to who do you believe and I am sure this is far from over.