Chris Kluwe Opens Up About Recent Comments in Interview with Anderson Cooper

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 11: Chris Kluwe #5 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the game against the Detroit Lions on November 11, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe has never been one to hide his true feelings.

The 32-year-old was released by the Minnesota Vikings in May 2013. But it wasn't until Jan. 2 that Kluwe went public with what he felt was the real motivation behind his firing: his support of marriage equality and gay rights.

In an interview on Monday, Jan. 6 with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Kluwe opened up in regards to his troubling story.

In the Deadspin article written by the veteran punter, titled "I was an NFL Player until I was Fired by Two Cowards and a Bigot," Kluwe accuses Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer of being a "bigot" and only using "homophobic language" in his presence after learning the punter had supported Minnesotans for Marriage Equality.

Kluwe also called former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman "cowards" for their roles in his release.

Kluwe, who claims to have witnesses to what went on in practice and in the months leading up to his eventual release, is also confident that his story will hold up under an investigation, per CNN:

But I'm 100 percent confident in everything that I related as how it happened and really encouraged by the fact that the Vikings are taking it seriously and opening an independent investigation because I think, you know, once they talk with people, they'll find out what happened. 

When asked whether he believed more players would come forward to support his story, Kluwe expressed confidence, per CNN:

Yes, I'm confident because, you know, it's the right thing to do, and then also, one of the things that I'm going to push for and will absolutely demand, is the fact that there must be anonymity for these witnesses because being blackballed in the NFL is a very real possibility.  And that's not something I'm willing to, you know, force my friends, my former teammates to submit to.

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Chris Kluwe #5 of the Minnesota Vikings punts the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Imag
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Kluwe made it clear in his interview with Cooper that he doesn't want to damage the Vikings' reputation and still holds the franchise in high regard, per CNN:

I'm hoping to avoid that, because like I said I really don't have any qualms with the Vikings organization as a whole.  This really is between me and three specific individuals, and I'm very encouraged by the Vikings opening an independent investigation with these two individuals because they have a good track record of getting to the truth and getting to it the right way. 

So, you know, legal option isn't off the table, but it is definitely an option I would prefer to avoid because I still have friends in that franchise.  I know a lot of people there, and really I'm just hoping to get this over with as soon as possible and get the right thing done.

Toward the end of the Deadspin article, Kluwe states that his main goal is to ensure Priefer never coaches in the NFL again. Soon after hearing of the allegations, Priefer denied them in a statement, per The Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "I vehemently deny today's allegations made by Chris Kluwe. 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."

Frazier was fired on Dec. 30 following a 5-10-1 season but was hired as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator on Jan. 3. 

With many just becoming aware of Kluwe's allegations, it'll likely take time before any penalties are handed down, if at all. Kluwe's future as an NFL punter also remains up in the air. 


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