Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-Vikings punter Chris Kluwe accuses assistant coach of bigotry
|01.03.14 at 8:18 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Pelicans at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Knicks at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College football: Cotton Bowl, Oklahoma State vs. Missouri, 7:30 p.m. (Fox)
College football: Orange Bowl, Clemson vs. Ohio State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Speedskating: U.S. Olympic trials, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
— Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, an outspoken advocate for gay rights, said special teams coach Mike Priefer made numerous anti-gay comments during Kluwe’s time with the team, and that recently fired coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman encouraged him to be less public about his political beliefs.
“If there’s one thing I hope to achieve by sharing this story, it’s to make sure that Mike Priefer never holds a coaching position again the NFL, and ideally never coaches at any level,” Kluwe wrote in a story for Deadspin.
The team promised a thorough review of the allegations, but Priefer — labeled a “bigot” by Kluwe — strongly denied them.
“I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals,” Priefer said in a statement. “I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.”
Kluwe, who said owner Zygi Wilf expressed his support for the punter’s stance, called Frazier and Spielman “cowards” for releasing him last May after eight seasons in Minnesota. Kluwe was due to make $1.45 million in 2013, and the team replaced him with fifth-round draft pick Jeff Locke, a cheaper option. Kluwe had several tryouts but did not latch on with a team this season.
“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,” the team said in a statement. “Chris was released strictly based on his football performance.”
— The NFL announced Thursday that it was extending the deadline for three teams to sell out their playoff games to avoid local TV blackouts this weekend. The Colts, Bengals and Packers were trying sell between 3,000 and 5,500 seats. Only the Eagles already had sold all of their seats.
Teams are allowed to get an extension if they think a sellout is possible. No postseason game has been blacked out since the Dolphins hosted the Ravens in a wild card game in 2001.
Three factors appear to be keys: the matchups weren’t set until the final Sunday of the season, the New Year’s holiday was this week, and frigid temperatures are expected in much of the country.
— The Nuggets suspended veteran guard Andre Miller for two games after he voiced his frustration to coach Brian Shaw during Wednesday’s loss to the 76ers, the first game Miller was benched in his 15-year career.
“It just came to a boiling points,” said Shaw, who had not yet talked to Miller when he announced the punishment. “We made a decision and we’re moving forward.”
Shaw also had a long meeting with the rest of the team Thursday, looking for ways to build morale despite an eight-game losing streak.
“Didn’t anticipate for [the meeting] to last as long as it did, but however long it needs to take to flush everything out and figure out what’s going on with our team, we decided to take that time today,” Shaw said. “It’s been a long morning after a long night of watching the game over and just playing everything back in your mind and trying to find a solution for where we are.”
Said guard Ty Lawson: “Everybody got their feelings out. Everybody said what needed to be said. Hopefully everybody can take that to heart and change so we can start getting wins. It’s always healthy to get things out and get everything in the open. Hopefully, this will be a turning point for the rest of the season.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 3, 1998, the Patriots lost to the Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs, 7-6. Which Patriots receiver set a team playoff record (since broken) with nine receptions for 104 yards?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’d probably be the first guy to do that, but it doesn’t make a difference. I want to make sure I’m healthy and handle it the right way. I haven’t had a preseason. I haven’t had a training camp.” – Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, on the possibility of playing in the D-League to get back in game shape before rejoining the Celtics
Bills tailgaters torment opposing fans by slam dunking on them in the parking lot with a portable net.
An Astros fan tries to boost Craig Biggio‘s Hall of Fame credentials with this video showing that Biggio, as well as being a standout baseball player, is a hero among men.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Shawn Jefferson
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Gene Summers was born on this day in 1939.
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