Kluwe Wants Alleged Anti-Gay Football Coach to Get Help
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said Tuesday that he wants the football team’s special teams coach Mike Priefer, who was called a "bigot" by the athlete for allegedly using anti-gay language in the locker room, to get help instead of never coaching again, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
"After thinking about it, after reflecting on it, I don’t think an appropriate punishment is if he never coaches again," Kluwe said on "Fox Sports Live." "I think it would be better if he got therapy, if he got counseling, and then a year or two from now, come back into the league as a role model, help out with LGBT groups, and show people that this is an important issue."
Earlier this month, Kluwe skated on proverbial thin ice whenhe wrote a piece for Deadspin, alleging he was let go from the Vikings for being an ally to the LGBT community. He also said Priefer is a "bigot" for allegedly using anti-gay slurs around him.
"In May 2013, the Vikings released me from the team," Kluwe writes. "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.’"
He goes on to explain the events that he says led to his departure.
"... based on everything that happened over the course of 2012, that I was fired by Mike Priefer, a bigot who didn’t agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman, both of whom knew I was a good punter and would remain a good punter for the foreseeable future, as my numbers over my eight-year career had shown, but who lacked the fortitude to disagree with Mike Priefer on a touchy subject matter. (Frazier was fired on Monday, at the conclusion of a 5-10-1 season.)
"One of the main coaching points I’ve heard throughout my entire life is, ’How you respond to difficult situations defines your character,’ and I think it’s a good saying. I also think it applies to more than just the players," he adds.
Priefer, however, denies using anti-gay language and released a statement saying just that.
"I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe," Priefer said. "I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member. The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way."
Other Vikings officials also responded to Kluwe’s article, also denying his allegation.