Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is putting the team on blast for his release, saying his vocal support of pro-gay causes is why he was cut.
Ever since he was let go after the 2012 season, he's been asked if he feels his outspokenness on marriage equality was the reason, or one of them.
He said he wasn't sure, as he wasn't present in those management meetings, but said he'd write about his experiences with the Vikings someday.
Thursday was that day. Kluwe wrote for Deadspin a piece titled "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot," and it's compelling.
Kluwe, 32 is straight, and married. No active NFL player has come out, as we know from the recent Aaron Rodgers gay rumors (which Rodgers denied).
But Kluwe believes strongly in gay rights, and says it cost him his career.
"I honestly don't know if my activism was the reason I got fired," Kluwe writes, looking back at the events. "However, I'm pretty confident it was."
He blames a trio of "cowards, former coach Leslie Frazier, general manager Rick Spielman and special teams coach Mike Priefer, for the dismissal.
Kluwe also writes that he wants to make sure Priefer never gets another coaching job again. Here are some of the accusations made by Kluwe:
After Kluwe wrote to Maryland delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr., blasting him for his criticism of ex-Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo, Frazier called Kluwe into his office.
Frazier basically told him to stop speaking out on the marriage equality issue. Kluwe disagreed, and a tense Frazier reportedly said, "If that's what you feel you have to do ..."
The next day, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf shook Kluwe's hand and told him he was proud of him. After Frazier called Kluwe back into his office, Kluwe told him about Wilf.
Said a "stunned" Frazier: "Well, he writes the checks. It looks like I've been overruled."
Priefer, meanwhile, reportedly used homophobic language around Chris Kluwe after the punter began to speak out on the issue of marriage equality:
"He had not done so during minicamps or fall camp that year, nor had he done so during the 2011 season. He would ask me if I had written any letters defending 'the gays' recently."
"He denounced as disgusting the idea that two men would kiss, and he would constantly belittle or demean any idea of acceptance or tolerance."
"Mike Priefer also said on multiple occasions that I would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible."
"He said all this in a semi-joking tone, and I responded in kind, as I felt a yelling match with my coach over human rights would greatly diminish my chances of remaining employed."
Kluwe said he felt uncomfortable each time Priefer used that kind of language. This, Kluwe writes, was not the only time Priefer used such hateful language.
Before Kluwe was 86'd, Priefer notably said this to the media about his punter: "Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you."
After Kluwe underwent knee surgery in January 2013, he writes that nobody - not Spielman, not Frazier, not Priefer - even called him to check in on him.
The first time Spielman contacted him was for this:
"On February 11, I received a message saying, 'Please fly under radar please,' from a phone number I would later learn belonged to Rick Spielman."
"The text message presumably concerned several things I had tweeted that day regarding Pope Benedict XVI's decision to steo down."
"Spielman later called me and asked me to stop tweeting about the pope because angry people were ringing up team headquarters in Winter Park, Minn."
Kluwe also writes about how he first learned that the team drafted a punter in 2013 and how he's statistically the best punter ever to wear a Vikings uniform.
Kluwe manages to get in one more shot at Priefer:
"If there's one thing I hope to achieve from sharing this story, it's to make sure that Mike Priefer never holds a coaching position again in the NFL, and ideally never coaches at any level."
"It's inexcusable that someone would use his status as a teacher and a role model to proselytize on behalf of his own doctrine of intolerance, and I hope he never gets another opportunity."