While football fans focused on this weekend’s NFL draft, one former player was working hard to get another shot at being on a team this fall. Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has been keeping his skills sharp by practicing at a baseball field near his home in Huntington Beach. While this normally would be a time where he would be preparing for OTAs (offseason training activities), he is preparing for his next audition.
The 32-year-old punter has been out of a job since the end of the 2012 season. The Vikings reportedly did not renew his contract because they believed that his numbers were not worthy of another contract. However, Kluwe believes that his views on same-sex marriage led to his dismissal.
He claims that he had several conversations with then head coach Leslie Frazier about Kluwe’s public endorsement of the practice.
In a Deadspin.com article, Kluwe also said that his former special teams coach expressed anti-gay sentiments, and that the coach discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs. Naturally, the Vikings denied Kluwe’s allegations regarding the coach’s statements and the reasons behind his dismissal. The team issued a statement essentially saying that Kluwe’s notion was “entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy.”
Nevertheless, Kluwe seeks an apology from the Vikings and a full investigation into his claims. The Vikings reportedly have launched an independent investigation and will not comment further until it is complete.
In the meantime, history was made over the weekend, as the St. Louis Rams (formerly of Los Angeles) became the first professional football team to draft an openly gay player, Michael Sam, from the University of Missouri.
Source: LA Times.com “Punter Chris Kluwe lacks an NFL job, but he isn’t finished kicking,” James Barragan, May 11, 2014