I’m a Minnesotan. Over the last week, the only sports headline that has come close to competing with the many Kevin Love trade rumors is the lawsuit filed by former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe against his former team.
Without going into every detail, Kluwe’s case deals with claims that his special teams coach, Mike Priefer, created a hostile work environment by saying things such as: “put all gay people on an island and nuke them until it glows.”
The Vikings coach denied it several times, but once it was corroborated by current Vikings player then Priefer admitted it. He was suspended by the Vikings for three games, which will be reduced to two if he completes sensitivity training.
Sticking with the NFL (this does lead to MLB, I promise), the league came out Thursday with its punishment for Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice, busted during the off-season for dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator (this is on video).
The NFL slapped Rice on the wrist with a two-game suspension for domestic violence. This is half the punishment that Rice would have received had he used performance enhancing drugs. These penalties, respectively for Priefer and Rice, make a mockery of both domestic violence and gay bashing.
How does this tie into baseball?
I have spent a lot of time and energy ripping the Minnesota Twins over the half-dozen years. I’ve destroyed players, coaches, their impossibly ignorant manager, their GM and the owners. However, I have always prided myself on pointing out the good in spite of the bad whenever I could on just about any subject. Today I couldn’t be more proud to be a Twins fan for how they handled the Chuck Knoblauch embarrassment.
Chuck was a former Rookie of the Year in 1991. He also helped the Twins win the World Series that season. In his career with the Twins he was arguably the second best second baseman in the game behind Roberto Alomar. On August 23rd Knoblauch was scheduled to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. Today the Twins canceled that Induction Ceremony.
Why was the ceremony canceled? Because… Chuck Knoblauch was arrested for assaulting his ex-wife in Texas. The Twins didn’t want to be associated with such a person and such behavior. The team showed more integrity by not waiting and hemming and hawing on this issue than the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings and Mike Priefer have shown combined.
I have several friends who have walked away from baseball thanks to the strikes in the 1980s and 90s or due to the PED usage. These same people are lifelong NFL fans. I will be watching to see their integrity as well. I’ve been a life-long Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and with all of the Ben Roethlisberger crap from a few years ago I distanced myself from the game.
After this Ray Rice situation was mishandled by the NFL I can’t imagine watching an NFL game this season and quite possibly ever again.
— Brad Beneke is a regular contributor to Brushbackpitch.com, a sister blog to this site