Chris Kluwe has always done notable things away from the football field. Video game guru, radio personality, Shakespearian whiteboard user, rock n’ roller, and family man. These are all things that Kluwe has received press for over the years, but he is now destined to forever be tied to the gay rights movement, but not just because of his outspoken activism.
Kluwe’s recent Deadspin article that called special teams coach Mike Priefer a bigot ensures that his legacy will be as an NFL activist instead of as a damned good punter with a nice, long career in Minnesota.
I recently noted on Twitter that I was surprised Kluwe was still being allowed to talk about his allegations publicly. After all, he has now retained a lawyer, and it seems like normal protocol is for a lawyer to immediately and bluntly tell their clients to cease all discussions about the case.
Kluwe responded to me on Twitter, though, and pointed out that there is actually no official case to be concerned about here. The Vikings are performing their own investigation of his allegations, which included calling out Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier as “cowards,” but Kluwe says he simply hired a lawyer to speak with other lawyers that are now involved.
I was surprised to get a response from Kluwe and asked him if he was willing to answer some more questions. I fully disclosed that, while I respected his punting career and willingness to fight for basic human rights, I also thought his public torching of Priefer made him a hypocrite. I also told him I thought his assessment of why the Vikings cut ties with him last offseason was off base.
Again, much to my surprise, he obliged. In fact, his willingness to talk to someone with an opposing viewpoint saw me gain back some of the respect for him that I had lost over the last week.
The first thing I asked Kluwe was why he chose Deadspin as the home for his claims of bigotry and cowardice within the Vikings organization. Surely he could have done more for his cause, gained even more attention, had he decided to jump on a major news network or have it distributed via a more traditional outlet.
“I could have definitely sold it to a major outlet or gotten a book deal by promising to reveal it, but that’s not what this is about,” Kluwe told me. “It’s about showing that this type of stuff still happens, and unless we’re willing to confront it, it will keep happening.”
Kluwe also told me that he wanted his various writings to come full circle, back to where his original letter on the issue of gay rights was published, and that he received no money from Deadspin for choosing them. He never asked for money, he says, and they never offered any.
That original article he references coined the phrase “lustful cockmonster,” among many others, which lies at the root of my issue with Kluwe. He has never shied away from colorful rhetoric that would surely offend a certain percentage of any population sample in our society. In fact, he’s damn good at it. So, how is it possible that Kluwe was the one that ended up being offended by over-the-top comments made by Priefer, other than that it was an opinion that differed from his own?
“Um, you literally can’t say stuff like that in the workplace environment, it’s against the law,” he said. “[Especially] if you’re in a supervisory capacity. Also of note is his tone – at that point I had been around Mike Priefer for almost two years, had had multiple conversations with him, and this was something completely different.”
I asked him if he thought Mike Priefer would actually commit genocide if he had the power and opportunity.
“He was dead serious when he said it,” responded Kluwe.