Do we need our eyes checked?!
If you're a visual person, here's a few examples of what we're talking about:
Wow! Talk about a ‘tell-all!’
In fact, at the time, on April 30th, Kluwe penned a letter to remember all of the events that took place, and he’s just published it!
We have to admit, it’s really compelling!
Kluwe starts off by explaining the present-day situation, then jumps into the letter. The 32-year-old kicker explained that he’d been approaced by Minnesotans for Marriage Equality to support them with regard to the Minnesota Gay Marriage Amendment.
He said yes, but first, Kluwe checked with the team. They told him:
“I was given the go-ahead to speak on the issue as long as I made it clear I was acting as a private citizen, not as a spokesman for the Vikings, which I felt was fair and complied with.”
Then Kluwe went on with a long, detailed account of everything that happened afterward. Here are some HIGHlights:
"On Sept. 8, the head coach of the Vikings, Leslie Frazier, called me into his office after our morning special-teams meeting. I anticipated it would be about the letter (punters aren't generally called into the principal's office). Once inside, Coach Frazier immediately told me that I "needed to be quiet, and stop speaking out on this stuff" (referring to my support for same-sex marriage rights). I told Coach Frazier that I felt it was the right thing to do (what with supporting equality and all), and I also told him that one of his main coaching points to us was to be "good men" and to "do the right thing." He reiterated his fervent desire for me to cease speaking on the subject, stating that "a wise coach once told me there are two things you don't talk about in the NFL, politics and religion." I repeated my stance that this was the right thing to do, that equality is not something to be denied anyone, and that I would not promise to cease speaking out. At that point, Coach Frazier told me in a flat voice, "If that's what you feel you have to do," and the meeting ended. The atmosphere was tense as I left the room…
Throughout the months of September, October, and November, Minnesota Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer would use homophobic language in my presence. He had not done so during minicamps or fall camp that year, nor had he done so during the 2011 season. He would ask me if I had written any letters defending "the gays" recently and denounce as disgusting the idea that two men would kiss, and he would constantly belittle or demean any idea of acceptance or tolerance.
Near the end of November, several teammates and I were walking into a specialist meeting with Coach Priefer. We were laughing over one of the recent articles I had written supporting same-sex marriage rights, and one of my teammates made a joking remark about me leading the Pride parade. As we sat down in our chairs, Mike Priefer, in one of the meanest voices I can ever recall hearing, said: 'We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.'"
HORR-I-BLE!!! What kind of a person says those things?!?
Kluwe further detailed how his stats were near his career average at the time he was let go, and that he was still in the middle to the top of punters in the NFL.
However, the Vikings dispute this! After Kluwe’s letter was released, they had their own statement, saying:
"The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe's allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter.
As an organization, the Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level. 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. 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. We will have further comment at the appropriate time."
How odd that they didn’t address their intolerant coach. NOT!
Kluwe has so many other stories in that letter, but in closing, he had some words that are more powerful than any punt! He said:
“Some will ask if the NFL has a problem with institutionalized homophobia. I don't think it does. I think there are homophobic people in the NFL, in all positions, but that's true for society as well, and those people eventually get replaced. All we can do is try to expose their behavior when we see it and call them to account for their actions.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Never be afraid to do what's right. If no one ever says anything, nothing ever changes.”
Like Spike Lee said, do the right thing!
Hopefully Kluwe gets some kind of job offers after explaning the story!
[Image via WENN.]