Right Field

Former NFL Punter Says He Was Cut for Supporting Gay Marriage

Former punter for the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe, wrote on Deadspin yesterday that he was cut by the Vikings in 2013 because he was a vocal supporter of gay marriage. He goes as far as accusing his position coach Mike Priefer of bigotry and calls his general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier cowards.

The Vikings are investigating and Priefer ”vehemently” denies the charge. 

In summary, Kluwe made his statements supporting gay marriage during the 2012 season. The Vikings then selected punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round of the NFL draft. Kluwe was later cut by the Vikings and Locke has been the starter ever since.

Kluwe wrote on Deadspin that he was surprised by the pick, but he shouldn’t have been. It’s basic economics. Via CBS Sports:

Every year one of the biggest questions in the NFL Draft is: When will the first punter be taken?

Actually, that’s never a big question, but it got answered on Saturday anyway when the Minnesota Vikings selected UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round with the 155th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Locke was the highest-rated punter going into the draft and was projected to go as high as the third round.

The four-year starter at UCLA finished his college career with a 44.2 yard average per punt, the second-highest total in school history. Locke placed a total of 99 punts inside the 20-yard line during his four-year career. The former Bruin also had 70 career punts of over 50-yards, including an 81-yard punt his freshman that was the longest at UCLA since 1995.

The addition of Locke to Minnesota’s roster could mean bad news for another former UCLA punter: incumbent Chris Kluwe. Kluwe is due $1.45 million in salary in 2013, but more importantly, he’s not due any bonuses, so cutting Kluwe wouldn’t cost the Vikings a dollar, according to Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500 in Minnesota.

And in 2012, the Vikings picked up Georgia kicker Blair Walsh and cut NFL-great Ryan Longwell a week later. This is what NFL teams do.

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