Kluwe: Cut due to outspoken views

"Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance."

Kluwe's stance on same-sex marriage drew headlines during the fall of 2012, when he helped with the charge to defeat a Minnesota constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. Voters rejected the amendment, and the Minnesota State Legislature legalized same-sex marriage this past spring.

In the Deadspin piece, Kluwe said Frazier first asked him to stop speaking out about same-sex marriage in September 2012, shortly before the Vikings' season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Frazier relented later that month, Kluwe wrote, after team owner Zygi Wilf told Kluwe before the Jaguars game he was proud of the punter for speaking out.

Late in the 2012 season, with the Vikings chasing a playoff berth, Kluwe wore a "Vote Ray Guy" patch on his jersey to campaign for the Hall of Fame. That seemed to wear on Priefer.

"Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you," Priefer said at the time. "Do I think Ray Guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there's other ways of going about doing it, in my opinion.

"To me, it's getting old," Priefer added, referring to Kluwe's advocacy. "He's got to focus on punting and holding."

Kluwe said Wilf's wife also approached him before a November game and encouraged him to keep doing what he was doing.

Asked if he felt he could approach Wilf about Priefer's comments, Kluwe said, "Zygi's not really hands-on with the team. He's very invested in the team -- he's probably the best owner I've ever seen -- but he's not like a Jerry Jones where he's around all the time. I would kind of see him around occasionally. He's very passionate and exuberant, but it's not like I can walk up to Zygi's office."

Kluwe also wrote that Spielman texted him and called him in February, asking him to stop tweeting about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI because angry fans were calling the Vikings' offices. The Vikings released Kluwe after they took UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round of the draft in April; Spielman said at the time the decision was performance-based and affirmed Kluwe's right to express his views. Priefer later said the decision was performance-based, adding he felt "very strongly" the Vikings needed a change at the position.

Kluwe, 33, signed with the Oakland Raiders but was cut during training camp. He's had tryouts with several teams since then, but hasn't been offered another job.

Kluwe said the Raiders told him they had no problem with him speaking out, only asking whether Kluwe felt his activism would be a distraction. To him, though, the fact that he hasn't caught on with another team after eight years with the Vikings sends a tacit message that teams are afraid to sign him.

"I've had a couple tryouts. I've punted consistently. I've put the ball outside the numbers with good hang time -- [averaging] 43, 45 yards," he said. "It's a position where, if you're good, you can play until you're 39, 40 years old. The fact I've been doing these tryouts and not having a chance to do my job, to me, is a strongly unworded statement that you're not going have a job again."

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