Former Minnesota Vikings punter and staunch LGBT ally Chris Kluwe has written a blistering piece for Deadspin, entitled “I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot,” and it’s a must-read. Chris concedes that he is not one hundred percent certain that he was fired for his LGBT activism, but argues that he’s pretty sure, and lays out his case in great detail:
Hello. My name is Chris Kluwe, and for eight years I was the punter for the Minnesota Vikings. In May 2013, the Vikings released me from the team. At the time, quite a few people asked me if I thought it was because of my recent activism for same-sex marriage rights, and I was very careful in how I answered the question. My answer, verbatim, was always, “I honestly don’t know, because I’m not in those meetings with the coaches and administrative people.”
This is a true answer. I honestly don’t know if my activism was the reason I got fired.
However, I’m pretty confident it was.
Allow myself to tell you a story about … myself. The following is a record of what happened to me during my 2012 season with the Minnesota Vikings, written down immediately after the 2013 draft in April, when I realized what was happening, and revised recently only for clarity. I tried to keep things as objective as possible, and anything you see in quotes are words that I directly recall being said to me.
This is a story about how actions have consequences, no matter how just or moral you think your cause happens to be, and it’s a story about the price people all too often pay for speaking out.
Here is but one snippet from his long account:
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. I tried to laugh these off while also responding with the notion that perhaps they were human beings who deserved to be treated as human beings. Mike Priefer also said on multiple occasions that I would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible. He said all this in a semi-joking tone, and I responded in kind, as I felt a yelling match with my coach over human rights would greatly diminish my chances of remaining employed. I felt uncomfortable each time Mike Priefer said these things. After all, he was directly responsible for reviewing my job performance, but I hoped that after the vote concluded in Minnesota his behavior would taper off and eventually stop.
Read the whole thing. It’s fascinating.