Photoshop out the football and you’ve pretty much recreated Chris Kluwe’s latest press conference

The most famous (or is it infamous?) punter in modern history tries to pin the Minnesota Vikings against their end zone.

Well, in his defense, he no longer has a job to be so focused on.

Chris Kluwe may possess a number of less-than-desirable qualities, but the former punter’s media savvy remains arguably his strongest suit.  Since leveling accusations against the Minnesota Vikings, in particular special teams coach Mike Priefer, of fostering an atmosphere of homosexual hatred which led to his firing by “two cowards and a bigot,” Kluwe has remained relatively quiet.  Perhaps partially motivated by a press corps seemingly less willing to believe him, or realizing that his legal strategy depended upon him dragging many of his former teammates into the mix, Kluwe and his representation had said little about the Vikings’ independent investigation in the past seven months.

That changed Tuesday as Kluwe charged that the Vikings’ investigation has concluded and that the lack of public disclosure over the findings proved Kluwe’s allegations of bigotry:

The onetime punter said Tuesday the team is “reneging on a promise” to release a copy of its completed investigation of alleged anti-gay sentiments expressed by special teams coach Mike Priefer during the 2012 season.

Kluwe and his attorney, Clayton Halunen, announced at a morning news conference that they will file suit against the Vikings alleging discrimination on the grounds of religion, human rights, defamation and “torturous interference for contractual relations.”

The move is self-aggrandizing and potentially premature (the Vikings said the independent investigatory group would provide a report this week).  Had the press conference included accusations of the team of being “lustful c**kmonsters,” it would have been vintage Kluwe.

It was also a somewhat smart public relations ploy.  Now, whenever Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P release their findings, Kluwe can claim his pressure forced the team to do so.  And Kluwe’s willingness to forgo a lawsuit for a monetary settlement that goes towards an LGBT cause also assists both the Vikings, in helping the issue go away faster, and Kluwe himself as even old media allies questioned the punter’s motivations (the KFAN Morning Show, who often gave Kluwe free-rein to voice his opinions on all matter of subjects, openly wondered if he was making a money grab this morning).

But “somewhat smart” isn’t the same as “smart.”  Kluwe’s strategy only truly works if the independent investigation proves some or all of Kluwe’s anecdotes, in particular his claim that Mike Priefer suggested moving gay people to an island and hitting it with a nuclear bomb.  Not unlike the current Jesse Ventura defamation suit, Kluwe’s case ultimately comes down to a “he said/he said” legal battle.  Even if Kluwe is 100% accurate in quoting Vikings’ staff, he would still have to prove a correlation between comments like Priefer’s and his cutting in 2013.  The Vikings can respond about Kluwe’s declining skills and (for the position) high salary – reasons that even Kluwe cited…when cut last summer by the Oakland Raiders.

The outcome of the investigation – or any following legal action – may be pointless.  Kluwe’s defenders will continue to insist the end of his career was due to his gay rights activism, and not his next-to-last finish for punts inside the 20-yard line while making $1.45 million.  Kluwe’s detractors will continue to be maligned as being bothered by his politics rather than his penchant for vulgar name-calling to anyone who doesn’t share his views (on gay rights or other subjects).

Other than attorneys or an LGBT charity, it’s hard pressed to see who benefits from this continued fight.

10 thoughts on “Footloose

  1. “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”
    — Andy Warhol

    And for what it’s worth, among ex-Viking punters, Kluwe might have more taste and restraint than his predecessor. Put it this way — we’re a long ways away from Mike Eischeid.

  2. Other than attorneys or an LGBT charity, it’s hard pressed to see who benefits from this continued fight.

    The short list:
    – Kluwe’s ego. You’re still talking about him.
    – Kluwe’s deals down the road for being a spokesman about “important LBGTQ breakthroughs.”
    – Kluwe’s potential as a talking head on various 3 letter networks, as well as a potential new MSNBC show, “Queer Nation Fighting Back.”
    – Kluwe’s potential as LBGTQ Community Organizer and Outreach Specialist for any number of big companies like Miller Brewing, GE, etc.

    Kluwe’s skills are in decline. No shame in that, it happens when you get older. He needs to transition to a new career and it looks like he’s chosen Queer Crusader as his next one (and considering the quality of his music, a smarter and more lucrative course). This lawsuit plays into that quite well.

  3. It strikes me that a guy as opinionated and outspoken as Kluwe might wreak havoc on a football team even if his punting was All-Pro caliber every year simply by throwing other football players and coaches–you know the guys he called “cowards” and the like–off their game.

    And what’s he trying to do? Count me with Mr. D. and Nerdbert. Kluwe is an attention whore, and you can quote me on that. Leave the column-inches on the dresser, he’ll do anything for you.

  4. I’m torn. The Sparkle Punter argues gays are entitled to play even if they’re not as good as other players, because of their gayness. Sexual affirmative action trumps performance.

    That might open up all sports for non-traditional players. I’m middle-aged, White, short, fat and I can’t jump. People in my class have traditionally been discriminated against in the NBA. We’ve been locked out of those high-buck salaries. It’s a national disgrace. If Kluwe succeeds in busting open professional sports, I might have a shot at the Lakers.

  5. Since everyone’s… oops.
    Since anyone who is: Heterosexual; Caucasian; and who Possesses a Y Chromosome now depends on expressions, associations and/or words they might/alleged to/likely to have said in the past I have one question: How does Kluwe get away with wearing a tee shirt with a stereotype caricature of an Asian female on it?

  6. Dang. Need a proofreader.
    Should have had “employment” prior to “depends on”.

  7. Kluwe is a lawsuit waiting to happen. I’ve worked with these types over the years – a casual conversation about the weather requires an attorney be present.

  8. The ViQueens’ response to Kluwe indicates there was no written agreement, hence not only is Kluwe likely to lose, but he is also likely to be countersued and pay back some of that sparkle they paid him.

    And that would be about the first, and last, time I would cheer for the ViQueens. But I would cheer. Defamation is a big deal.

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