We know that rookie punter Jeff Locke had very little time to interact with Chris Kluwe before Kluwe was released by the Vikings, and also had very little time to see special teams coordinator Mike Priefer interact with Kluwe. Blair Walsh, who just finished his second season with the team, did spend a full season working with Kluwe and was presumably around during some of Kluwe’s alleged scenes of verbal abuse and bigotry.
Both Locke and Walsh, however, stood by their coach following Kluwe’s allegations posted at Deadspin.
Locke took to Twitter to lend his support.
“In my short time with the Vikings,” he wrote, “Coach Priefer has treated me with respect and has helped as a player and person. I have never witnessed any actions or statements by Coach Priefer similar to those described in the recent Deadspin article.
“I have had countless conversations and interactions with coach Priefer, and I personally can attest to his integrity and character,” Walsh said in a statement he released directly to reporters. “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. …
“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.”
Some will aplaude Kluwe’s bravery for posting the article and exposing his coach. Others will say Walsh and Locke were brave for standing up for their coach despite certain criticism from a significant portion of society. The debate is sure to be emotional and heated. Kluwe, however, reiterated on Thursday night that he is not worried about the fallout while talking with Chip Scoggins at the Star Tribune.
“It’s one of those things where this is what happened,” he said. “I realize there will be people that say, ‘This is just sour grapes. He’s upset that he got cut.’”