My interview w/Chris Kluwe about life after the NFL
Chris Kluwe stood up for LGBT equality in a very public way and it seems to have cost him his career in the NFL.
The former punter for the Minnesota Vikings, 32, retired from the game in January after he was released by the Vikings after eight seasons then by the Oakland Raiders during the 2013 pre-season.
He alleged that Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer – the coach directly responsible for reviewing Kluwe’s job performance – suddenly started using homophobic language in his presence after he began getting attention for speaking out for LGBTI equality.
Chris recently spoke with me about what his life is like today living in Southern California.
Q. What are you doing these days?
A. I’m the stay at home dad now. My wife is working, she’s a social worker. I get to watch the kids, make dinner, work on my writing and generally enjoy life.
Q. Are you going to put another book out after writing Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies ?
A. I’m going to try to. I’m working on a science fiction book and I’ll probably write a sequel to Sparkleponies. I’m also working on my football memoirs. Those should be entertaining.
Q. Michael Sam was recently cut from the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys after also being cut from the St. Louis Rams. Is he being judged by a higher standard?
A. ‘I think it’s disappointing that he’s not on a team right now because I think he has shown he has the skills to play in the NFL. I’m hopeful that another team will give him a chance. If he doesn’t (get a chance to play), that will go to show that there’s more work to be done because the only reason why he wouldn’t is because of his sexuality and that’s not right.
‘Hopefully a team picks him up this season because I think he can contribute to a great many teams – there are a lot of bad defensive teams in the NFL right now. The great thing that he’s shown is that whoever the next player is that comes out, teams aren’t going to be able to say this player is going to be a distraction. Mike has been utterly professional and done everything that has been asked of him.’
Q. Do you think Sam has made a difference moving forward?
A. This is very much a generational issue so a lot of the people in charge in the NFL, a lot of the front offices, a lot of the executive managers tend to be older, wealthy, white Americans. Not all of them subscribe to a certain mindset but a large majority of them do and until we have a younger generation coming up and taking over those roles, you’re going to see the same thing we see with race relations in the United States where it’s been until the old bigots die out then there’s no change.’
Q. Are you satisfied with what happened with your situation in Minnesota? I know there was some punishment for special teams coach Mike Priefer for making homophobic comments to you and around you.
A. He missed two games overall and really I’m just happy that we were able to get quite a bit of money to charities that can really use it and people who can really use it. For me all along it’s been about showing people that this is unacceptable and also we need to treat people like human beings. We still have a huge problem in the United States where we have 28 or 29 states where you can be fired because of your sexual orientation. that needs to change, that is completely unacceptable. There’s definitely more work to be done.’
Q. You are so articulate and telegenic. Are you interested in doing any television on a regular basis?
A. I wouldn’t say no. I’ve had a couple of production agents be in contact with me. I think the main hurdle has been finding something that I guess fits kind of what I talk about. I’m all over the map. For me personally, if I could do a Daily Show type thing, that would be fantastic.