Earlier today, I highlighted former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s long piece in which he explained in detail why he believes that his outspoken LGBT advocacy was a major in his firing. The Minnesota Vikings have responded:
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.
One of the most startling of Chris’s allegations involved comments made by Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer, he whom Chris referred to as the “bigot” who was partially responsible for his firing:
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.” The room grew intensely quiet, and none of the players said a word for the rest of the meeting. The atmosphere was decidedly tense. I had never had an interaction that hostile with any of my teammates on this issue—some didn’t agree with me, but our conversations were always civil and respectful. Afterward, several told me that what Mike Priefer had said was “messed up.”
That the Vikings are now playing defense is a good indication of just how socially unacceptable views like those attributed to Priefer are these days.