National Columnist

Chris Kluwe can't be moral crusader after his cruel Twitter rant

Chris Kluwe's actions were no better than the Vikings' assistant coach.  (USATSI)
Chris Kluwe's actions were no better than the Vikings' assistant coach. (USATSI)

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How's the little girl, Chris Kluwe? You know -- the "underage girl" who was "caught in a compromising position" with "two very well known Vikings."

That one. Her.

How is she, Chris? Who is she? Where is she?

Do her parents know what happened to her, or is that not your concern? Maybe that girl is just like all those little boys who were raped by Jerry Sandusky -- not your concern beyond being the punch line to a joke, or the hook to an edgy tweet, as you used that little girl on Friday night right here:

More than 1,000 people retweeted that one, passing around that little girl like a virus and not the human being Chris Kluwe seems to have forgotten she is. After all that encouragement, Kluwe issued a second tweet about her:

No, Chris, we didn't hear about the underage girl and the two NFL football players, presumably because there was no police report about the incident, only talk in the Vikings locker room, talk that you heard because special teams hears *everything*.

As for the rest of your tweet, Chris, no thanks. Let's not do this all day. And let's be done with the me-to-Chris portion of this column and open it up to include everybody else, and I'm hoping everybody else -- or at least a lot of people -- are like me today: Looking at Chris Kluwe in a different light.

Today I'm disgusted by two people: Mike Priefer, the Vikings special teams coach whose homophobia was so degrading and so public that the team suspended him on Friday for three games of the 2014 NFL season. And Chris Kluwe, who apparently did stuff in the Vikings locker room that was every bit as offensive, every bit as homophobic, as Priefer.

According to the report, whose public release Kluwe has been demanding, Kluwe used the Sandusky horror in Penn State as the set-up to his joke, which was to walk around the locker room with a hole ripped out of his pants -- in the back, near his rectum -- and said he was a "Penn State victim."

Kluwe's joke -- get it? -- was directed at strength coach Tom Kanavy, who is described by Kluwe on Twitter as "a big Penn State guy." Kluwe confirmed that he made some such Sandusky joke "once" but said everybody was doing it.

Over half the team did it for over a month? Well, that makes it all better.

No it doesn't. And what Kluwe did in that locker room -- and what he apparently did not do, as it relates to that underage girl -- is in stark contrast to the fine work he has done on behalf of the LGBT community. He has been that community's champion in the NFL, he and Brendon Ayanbadejo, and this doesn't diminish that.

But this stuff does diminish Chris Kluwe, and is a reminder to all of us -- me included -- that noble intentions in some areas of life, even most areas of life, do not make any of us untouchable or incapable of becoming on occasion the very thing we hate.

And Chris Kluwe, it turns out, is the very thing he claims to hate: a jerk who traffics in cruel humor, homophobic jokes and look-the-other-way cowardice when the mood strikes. Now that he has been outed as such -- and has outed himself with his own words on Twitter -- he has sacrificed his position of bighearted moral crusader.

Seriously, can you look at Chris Kluwe the same way again? Not me. Can't take him seriously now that we know he tore a hole out of the back of his pants and paraded around the locker room as a "Penn State victim." That's so awful, and so stupid, Richie Incognito may well have chuckled when he heard about it.

The next time something needs to be said on behalf of homosexuals in the NFL -- on behalf of Rams linebacker Michael Sam -- or even on behalf of the LBGT community, period, Chris Kluwe is not someone I want to hear it from. Not as the voice of compassion. Not anymore.

And I don't know what to make of Kluwe's assertion that an underage girl was in some sort of "compromising position" with two Vikings, a story that he threw out as tantalizing tweet-bait and then bragged about his insider info by adding, "Bet you didn't hear about that one."

Were the cops called? The girl's parents? Were team officials told? These are questions I have for Chris Kluwe, and I tried to reach him Saturday on his preferred method of discourse (Twitter), but as of this story's posting he hasn't responded. If he does -- if you do, Chris -- I will update this story. It's the Internet. Stories online are fluid.

So are reputations. Chris Kluwe, crusader for so many good causes, remains that -- and so much less. But in case you were wondering, he seems to stand by his tweets from Friday. This is what he said toward the end of his Twitter barrage:

Not carefully enough, Chris.

Who's the girl? How is she?

Do you know, Chris?

Do you care?

-----------

Update, 5:37 p.m.: Kluwe responded to me on Twitter by providing an email address, and from there a phone number. We spoke, but he wouldn't talk about the "compromising position" involving the "underage girl" -- other than to say I had made an "assumption." To which I said:

"Tell me what happened with the girl, or I'm leaving that part of my story as-is."

Kluwe: "Leave it."

Kluwe did talk about -- and express some regret for -- the Penn State joke.

Kluwe: "That one, the way the report presented it, it was presented in a way designed to make me look bad."

Me: "There's no way to present that without you looking bad."

Kluwe: "The intent was to make fun of the culture of Penn State that allowed that to happen: Do whatever it takes to protect the team. If that offended some people, then yes, I'm sorry for offending those people. I realize some people may not like that sort of humor. If it comes to speaking truth to power, standing up to blind fanaticism, that's what I'm going to do."

As for his battle with the Vikings, Kluwe closed with this:

"I didn't want it to come to this. It's ugly, and it's going to get worse."

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