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SBD/May 7, 2013/Franchises
How Much Did Chris Kluwe's Outspokenness Factor Into Vikings' Decision To Cut Him?
Published May 7, 2013
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THINKING OUT LOUD: In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins wrote, “Regardless of whether they admit it, the Vikings are jettisoning Kluwe partly because they grew tired of his outspokenness.” Kluwe has “become the most visible punter in NFL history because of his social activism.” The Vikings “deny that Kluwe’s public stance on issues factored into their decision -- not that they would ever admit it -- but they likely prefer someone who embraces the anonymous life of an NFL punter” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/5). CBSSPORTS.com’s Mike Freeman wrote it would be “silly to think” the Vikings did not release Kluwe “in part due to his activism and public stances on a variety of things.” It would be “asinine to say he wasn't cut, at least partially, because he yapped too much” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/6). FOXSPORTS.com’s Jen Floyd Engel writes Kluwe’s activism “definitely factored into his release, and anybody in Minnesota who says otherwise is lying.” Floyd Engel: “We say we want athletes to take stands and have opinions, but this is a lie. We demand they shut up and play, or insist if they must speak that they share our opinions” (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/7). But CBS' Doug Gottlieb said, "This is just a business transaction where they didn’t feel like Chris Kluwe was good enough.” CBS' Allie LaForce added, “And you can save a lot of money with a rookie who can produce the same numbers that he did” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 5/6).
FREE AGENT SPEECH: In N.Y., Pat Borzi notes both Kluwe and free agent LB Brendon Ayanbadejo “are out of work,” as the Ravens “released Ayanbadejo two months ago.” Kluwe “wonders whether that might discourage other NFL players from speaking out on issues.” Kluwe: “It’s really going to depend on whether we are able to find work. If we’re not, then people are probably going to draw the logical conclusion. That will happen. I would hope the NFL isn’t an organization that will allow something like that to happen” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/7). YAHOO SPORTS’ Les Carpenter wrote while “you could argue Ayanbadejo was a financial casualty for a team desperate to get under the salary cap, Kluwe was a modest budget strain to the Vikings.” What happened to him “makes little sense." Except it "makes lots of sense.” There is an “idea in football that punters should be seen and not heard” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/6).