The overtime of fame: Chris Kluwe, show trials and the NFL

Why is it liberals love show trials were the accused never gets a fair trial? Photo: Chris Kluwe / Associated Press

WASHINGTON, January 8, 2014 — Former NFL Punter Chris Kluwe is desperately trying to send his 15 minutes of fame into overtime.

In a move designed for maximum publicity, Kluwe penned a screed claiming he was blackballed from the NFL for support of homosexual marriage. Kluwe played for eight years, which is twice as long as the average NFL career. The Vikings drafted another punter in the 2013 draft because they figured Kluwe was at the end of his career; a new punter would do at least as well and would cost them a lot less.

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None of the other 31 NFL teams picked up Kluwe. Kluwe claims the NFL blackballed him.


This is the NFL, which many people say stands for the National Felon League. They welcomed back Michael Vick after his stint in a federal prison for dog fighting. The NFL welcomed back Jamal Lewis after he spent several months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. 

Because Kluwe made the politically correct accusation of homophobia, the NFL and the Vikings went into hysterical reaction mode. They made the appropriate politically correct affirmations then announced an investigation.

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That isn’t good enough for Kluwe. He not only wants an investigation, he wants a secret investigation. He wants witnesses to testify anonymously.

It is stunning that the Vikings and the NFL even take him seriously. He said in the piece that started this all in Deadspin, “If there’s one thing I hope to achieve from sharing this story, it’s to make sure that Mike Priefer never holds a coaching position again in the NFL, and ideally never coaches at any level.”

Kluwe has a personal vendetta against the guy he holds responsible for the end of his career. He wants a witch-hunt and is close to getting it. He wants players to be able to testify anonymously against the Vikings. This idea holds all the fairness of a Stalinist show trial.

In a show trial, it is not whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. It is the seriousness of the accusation and who is making the accusation. Because Kluwe is coming from the far left, he does not think Mike Priefer should get a fair hearing. Kluwe has made it his life mission to destroy the Minnesota coach, and allowing him a fair hearing would work against that.

The right to confront your accusers is fundamental to the American view of justice. For criminal trials, it is enshrined in the Constitution. Even in civil proceedings, parties are allowed to cross-examine the witnesses against them.

In a trial, the court — the judge or the jury — decides which facts to accept and which ones to reject. Often this decision is made on the basis of cross-examination, where a witness’s credibility is tested.

In an investigation, there is a similar process.

Kluwe, like others who come from the far left, has no interest in a fair trial or a fair proceeding. He wants the accusation to be the conviction. He wants anyone who disagrees with him to be destroyed.

Priefer denys that he made anti-homosexual slurs, but he disagrees with Kluwe on the topic of homosexual marriage. For a leftist, that is enough. Disagreement with liberal orthodoxy is enough to convict Priefer and destroy his career.

Kluwe wants to set the ground rules for this inquisition so that Priefer has no opportunity to defend himself. In show-trial fashion, all that matters is the accusation.

The outrage here is not Kluwe’s accusation or even whether Priefer said what Kluwe claims. The real outrage is that a politically correct accusation of “homophobia” by someone who has vowed to destroy the career of his victim is given any credence at all. 

The outrage is not that Kluwe wants a show trial, but that Priefer, who has been supported by his players, is even put through this inquisition in the first place. 

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More from Judson Phillips: Cold, Hard Truth
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Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet.

A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says.

Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC.   “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based.  Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville.  Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’  I did.”

The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown.   It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed.  Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker.

He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should.  He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.

Contact Judson Phillips


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