Did Kluwe’s allegations actually help Priefer keep his job?


If you missed it (and the team hopes you did), the Vikings suspended special-team coordinator Mike Priefer three games as part of a Friday night news dump that included a 29-page memo analyzing the investigation sparked by the complaints of former punter Chris Kluwe.

The memo, which takes shots at Kluwe for making light of the Sandusky situation and which prompted Kluwe to make some strong allegations of player misconduct on Twitter, explains that Priefer denied making a particularly unfortunate comment about putting gays on an island and “nuking” it when first interviewed in early January.  Preifer later admitted it in May, after being confronted with corroboration of Kluwe’s contention from long snapper Cullen Loeffler.

Between the first and second interview, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer decided to retain Priefer as special-teams coordinator.  As our pal Ross Tucker noted on Twitter, the Vikings could have simply hired someone else to handle the special teams, as most new head coaches do.  Besides, if Kluwe’s activism on gay rights created an undesirable distraction, the ongoing presence of a special-teams coordinator who has become the target of allegations of homophobic comments makes him an unwanted distraction, too.

In most employment disputes, the manager accused of wrongdoing doesn’t get fired unless the preliminary investigation points unmistakably to conduct so heinous that it’s impossible to keep the manager employed.  Far more often, the company embraces the accused because the company needs the accused to cooperate — and to not be disgruntled.

If the Vikings had fired Priefer, who knows what he would have said to investigators?  By talking to him in early January, Priefer’s initial interview was even more likely to reflect favorably on the team because the head coach had been fired but Priefer’s fate had not yet been determined.  If the Vikings had decided to move on from Priefer and if Priefer had been interviewed after the fact, maybe Priefer would have shared details about discussions leading to Kluwe’s release without the kind of care and precision that would keep those comments from being regarded as proof that he was cut because of his support of gay rights.

It’s possible, then, that Kluwe may have done Priefer a huge favor, keeping Priefer employed for as long as Kluwe’s anticipated lawsuit lasts.

Yes, that’s a very cynical view of how business gets done, especially in an industry so driven by results.  Still, litigation and the threat of it creates a distinct bunker mentality in any organization, with folks who otherwise would be left unprotected getting one of the best seats in the house for as long as the threat lasts.

In hindsight, it would have made more sense for Kluwe to delay his January 2 Deadspin essay by a few weeks.  If new coach Mike Zimmer had fired Priefer before Kluwe made his claims, Priefer quite possibly would have been giving his version of the events with a far different agenda and perspective as, like Kluwe, someone who had been fired by the Vikings.

37 responses to “Did Kluwe’s allegations actually help Priefer keep his job?

  1. Yes but if Kluwe had waited until Preifer had been fired he

    1. Wouldn’t be getting the same amount of attention from the media that he is.

    2. Wouldn’t be able to try and hold an NFL team hostage, therefore garnering even more attention for himself.

    That is typical liberal way, try to leverage your being offending into getting what you want. Kluwe is just doing what he has seen work time and time again.

  2. Kluwe got fired because he sucked at his job AND because he is a POTA. The end.

    Man… I usually don’t root for people to fail, but I’m not going to lie, there is a little bit of Schadenfreude inside me at seeing Kluwe suffer the same style of language in public repercussions that he put others through who didn’t happen to agree with him on just about anything.

    The guy is a grade 1 jack-wagon. Regardless of what you think about the social issues surrounding his story.

  3. Kluwe’s only real intent is not to make money from the lawsuit, but rather have the gay community give him all sorts of job offers. Its nothing more than a ploy & money grab.

    He knows he can’t win against the NFL; so team up with an organization/group that will give him cash.

  4. If this guy made comments that made Kluwe uncomfortable, he should have been HAPPY to get cut, and go to a more, ahem, “tolerant” and comfortable environment.

    The fact the Raiders cut him in training camp is enough to show that his release was performance-related.

    SECONDLY, Kluwe referred to Leslie Frazier, Rick Spielman, and Mike Priefer as “two cowards and a bigot.” Chris brought the name-calling and character-defamation to the limelight, he should be prepared to receive that plus some from the court of public opinion and/or court of law.

  5. I am already so sick of this. It would serve Kluwe right if the judge (assuming this goes to court) would put a gag order on the whole thing. Then we’ll see if there is a case that will stand on it’s own merits and not on a attempt to garner fame and manipulate public opinion.

  6. Kickers will speak when spoken too !!
    Also what about the Raiders ? Oh yeah they cut you cause your a clown that can’t punt . Skol vikes

  7. That wouldn’t be the first time in a company that a couple of people got entangled into some bad beef and somebody got screwed out of a job while another that shouldn’t have a job gets to keep one instead. It happens all the time. Quite often the manager or the executive that screws the lower level employees will find ways to give the boot to the the lower level person that doesn’t have leverage or proof of wrongdoing and the nice person or the little powerless person finishes last while the rich get richer.

    And in an economy where unemployment is running rampant, don’t expect the govt or other authorities to step in and penalize the employer. These employers have a hard enough time staying in business and hiring people, if you start hammering them for being jerks or screwing people out of money or breaking the law in any way, then unemployment would go back up since the companies would have less profit from not manipulating or cheating or screwing over the little people.

    But that’s not illegal in this country, it’s called at-will employment, and it gives employers great courage and confidence to invest in hiring suckers, I mean workers.

  8. Kluwe is suffering after this last barrage. Guy needs to just go away and do his thing without having to be in the limelight. Then maybe someone will take him seriously. His vendetta against Priefer is just making him look completely silly.

  9. I would believe there’s 2, maybe 3 ways to look at this ordeal.
    1, Sour Grapes – he was cut and unhappy he lost his job. He can use the ST coaches unfortunate comments in a publicity stunt to get back at the team.
    2, He’s addicted to the publicity and gets off on seeing his tweets and interviews getting attention in the national news.
    3, He’s just a gay rights activist and is hell bent on getting the word out there.

    In either case, anything related to gay rights is a hot topic right now.

  10. The new PC world is getting so out of hand. Why in the hell does everyone have to be so sensitive about every topic? Just live your own lives people and care about the things that really matter and affect you only. It’s not that difficult!

  11. Kluwe does realize his entire argument from the beginning has been off base and continues to be. But the funniest thing is how bigoted kluwe is being without realizing it. “I want a judgment free world” he clams. Fallowed by (my interpretation) ” as long as everyone agrees with how I see things”. People have a right to not like other people for whatever reason. People have a right to not like gay people just like kluwe has a right to like them so much most of us wonder. There’s a difference in tolorance and control. You can not agree with something but still accept it. Whatever preifers view on gays may be until he goes and assaults a person for being gay, its just his opinion. And our first amendment grants free speech

  12. It has become painfully obvious that this effort by Kluwe wasn’t over an argument about equal rights for gays, but rather about trying to end Priefer’s career as an NFL coach.

    Kluwe’s release of that article came the day after Frazier was fired, and was designed to make Priefer appear as damaged goods, someone no head coach would want to take a chance on hiring.

    But here’s the problem: Kluwe has never kept quiet about anything. If he had truly been as offended as he’s trying to let on now, it is not believable that he would have kept quiet about it to protect his job, and kept quiet about it for the entire 2013 season (after he lost his job).

    Now we find out that Kluwe himself was behaving an a very disrespectful manner, mocking the victims of Jerry Sandusky in front of everyone in the locker room.

    So what really happened here? My guess is Kluwe kept spouting off in the locker room about gay rights, and after a couple of bad game performances as a punter, Priefer called him out (with some very inappropriate language) in order to try to get Kluwe to shut up and concentrate on his job. So after Kluwe gets cut and can’t find work elsewhere, he decides to use this incident to get revenge.

    Problem is, now we know Kluwe isn’t exactly as innocent as he proclaims himself to be. This entire episode wasn’t about gay rights all; this was about Chris Kluwe trying to torpedo Mike Priefer’s career, and using the gay right’s platform to do it.

    The Vikings were right to suspend Priefer for this incident. But Kluwe will never work in the NFL again after this. In fact, he’ll have a hard time getting hired by anyone.

  13. Morally bankrupt franchise, owner, and bigoted lying coach. Leave to the classless fans to still blame Kluwe for telling the truth, what an example you must set for your children.

  14. So it’s okay for Kluwe top make light of the Sandusky case, but it’s not okay for this coach to make a remark about gays??
    Here’s what I say about that. Kluwe should get his own house in order before throwing stones. Further, why didn’t Kluwe come forward immediately when Priefer said what he said?
    Kluwe has an agenda and that’s what this is all about. Coaches have said insensitive things to their players forever. They’ve called them stupid, they’ve called them fat, and they’ve called them many unprintable things, too.
    I’m fine with the 3 day suspension of Priefer and telling him there won’t be a 2nd chance. But — if they’re going to come down on him, they’re going to have to put out an alert to all owners, coaches and players that they can’t say anything to anyone which might seem insensitive or they’ll get equal treatment.
    See how well that’s received and see how feaseable that is. And while we’re at it, tell the fans they can’t say anything, either.
    Think I’m being ridiculous? So do I. But this is the type of world these politically correct hyper-sensitive people want us all to live in.
    Priefer is entitled to his opinion, but he shouldn’t have said what he said to Kluwe. It was a stupid thing to do because I’m certain he knew Kluwe was gay, and it was wrong to do it. But Kluwe is making a mountain out of a mole hill because he has an agenda. And that’s what his real motivation is.

  15. I have a legitimate question: I understand Kluwe advocating for gay rights but I don’t understand what exactly it is that he’s trying to accomplish thru the Vikings. Is Kluwe gay and he was offended by their actions or is he not gay but was offended by gay remarks???

  16. Kluwe is trying to expose an employer that hires management level personnel with bigoted mindsets.

    It is one thing to be a bigot (it’s a free world.) It’s another to force your bigoted opinions upon your employees.

    That’s what this is about. Kluwe already has money.

  17. It’s amazing how so many Vikings fans are unable to actually read. They think it’s a cash grab even though all the money would go to charity.

    On top of that….they think Kluwe sucked as a punter. If you look at the facts, he didn’t. He had a down year by his own high standards that he set, but it was only one year and he was still in the top 50% of punters during his down year

    This team is always an embarrassment…from the Love Boat scandal to the Favre tampering and bending over to grab ankles for him and now this. Nothing has changed for this joke of a franchise. Their history is littered with failure and folly and their fairweather fans reflect that.

  18. thestrategyexpert says:
    Jul 21, 2014 10:53 AM
    That wouldn’t be the first time in a company that a couple of people got entangled into some bad beef and somebody got screwed out of a job while another that shouldn’t have a job gets to keep one instead.
    This is one hundred percent correct. I worked in HR for a major company for many years and employment law and corrupt employees (both management and regular worker) are all more disgusting than watching sausage being made. And it all but ensured that if I do start a business requiring more than my spouse and I as workers, I will never hire anyone I don’t know extremely well or who doesn’t have real true references.

    If Kluwe had any nuts at all he would have made this an issue while he was working. There have been other players who are heterosexual who have been public about their support for gay marriage rights (like Scott Fujita) and whose careers have not suffered for it. Back in the day of racial segregation, there were people like Vince Lombardi who simply refused to allow their players to be treated differently in public (ie not allowed in the same place, entrance etc). Now that was real courage and righteousness. Crying about words used like Kluwe has is NOT. There are right and wrong ways to try to promote or advocate for things you believe in and Kluwe chose poorly.

  19. “The intent was to make fun of the culture of Penn State that allowed that to happen: Do whatever it takes to protect the team. If that offended some people, then yes, I’m sorry for offending those people. I realize some people may not like that sort of humor. If it comes to speaking truth to power, standing up to blind fanaticism, that’s what I’m going to do.”

    This is the biggest bunch of rationalization BS I have ever heard. For the love of God how by doing this in an NFL locker room is standing up to ‘blind fanaticism’? ‘Speaking the power of truth’. How was this doing that?

  20. The thing that bothers me is that Kluwe makes a huge leap from one insensitive comment, which was made in an attempt to get him to concentrate on football while he was goofing off (according to Cullen Loeffler), to a “culture of intolerance.” You can’t judge a person, let alone a whole organization, by one bad joke.

  21. Interesting hindsight by Mike Florio.

    Going up the chain of command, the highest person fired and outside the bunker accusing those allegedly within the bunker (at least temporarily) of wrongdoing.

    Would the coach truthfully wound the vikings the way most ex-vikings do?

    It will be interesting when the internal documents like e-mail and the investigation become public.

    Sometimes I think Mike Florio gives the bumbling vikings too much credit. Years and decades of mismanagement and misdeeds lead me to believe the vikings are NOT that bright.

  22. Except Priefer’s a great coach that repaired a horrific special teams. Since he’s been here, it’s been arguably MN’s strongest unit with some great plays like runbacks by Patterson and Harvin, not to mention Blair Walsh’s success and we’ve had good coverage units too. Probably has more to do with him than Kluwe. So the guy’s a meathead, big deal; most football people are.

  23. Meanwhile in Green Bay, the clown music is louder than ever and the police want autographs from their heros. Nice to see Pack fans on here have so many negative opinions on this issue, of course spinning it as a Vikings franchise problem, not two peoples issues, what it really is.

  24. Jesse Ventura and Chris Kluwe should get married, they’re perfect for each other.

  25. Kluwe won’t work in the NFL again. He won’t be able to get a job at Burger King. He won’t be able to utter the words “have it your way”. He can only say “have it my way!” Put him on an island and nuke it til it glows.

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