Former Minnesota Vikings punter and current marriage equality advocate Chris Kluwe joined CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday to discuss his accusatory Deadspin article, “I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot.”
In the column published last Thursday, Kluwe alleged that he was let go from his longtime team — where he was (and is) the all-time leading punter — for speaking out in support of gay marriage, despite being told by coaches to keep a low profile on the matter. The personnel fingered in the article have denied wrongdoing, though the team has vowed to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.
While no players have yet publicly corroborated Kluwe’s story, which includes a special teams coach saying “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” Kluwe told Cooper that there were witnesses to the homophobic offenses.
“I made sure that I had witnesses because otherwise that’s a very easy defamation of character case,” Kluwe said, adding that he is confident that former teammates will step forward and back up his account. “It’s the right thing to do, and then also, one of the things that I’m going to push for and will absolutely demand, is the fact that there must be anonymity for these witnesses because being blackballed in the NFL is a very real possibility.”
Kluwe believes he is now officially among the blackballed, saying, “I think my time in the NFL is done. I mean, you can’t write an article like that and expect to play again.”
The former NFLer seems very much at peace with that possibility, insisting that he knew what he was getting into when he agreed to be a spokesman of sorts for gay rights group Minnesotans for Marriage Equality.
When Cooper asked Kluwe if he was considering legal action against the team since he believes he was let go unfairly, the previous pro athlete responded, “I’m hoping to avoid that, because like I said I really don’t have any qualms with the Vikings organization as a whole. This really is between me and three specific individuals.”
He added, “So, you know, (the) legal option isn’t off the table, but it is definitely an option I would prefer to avoid because I still have friends in that franchise.”
Watch the clip: