Darren Sharper has nothing to do with this post. But I see no reason to put up a picture of Nate Jackson or Chris Kluwe. Do you?
As the lockout negotiations appear to be ending today (*makes it rain on the Eagles and Falcons*), it’s only appropriate that we wrap up with another post about what happens when real feelings come out. This edition features former Denver Broncos Tight End Nate Jackson and current Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
In a nutshell, Kluwe took to his twitter page two weeks ago to insult a few of the plaintiffs and player reps for the NFLPA. He said they (Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins) were douchebags, presumably because they were rumored to be delaying agreement because they wanted their own side deals.
Nate Jackson duly noted Kluwe’s comments and posted a response to Gawker’s sports site Deadspin. In a post titled “Dear Chris Kluwe, When We Want A Punter’s Opinion We’ll Ask for It (We Won’t), Jackson essentially mocked the role of punters in the NFL and chastised Kluwe for breaking pecking order and daring to speak on behalf of players who really matter.
Earlier this week, Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings punter, called Peyton Manning and Drew Brees greedy douchebags on his Twitter feed — validating, from a source who wears an NFL uniform, the media’s assertion that the lockout is all about greedy players. But by relying on gossipy football media outlets for facts about CBA negotiations, then taking to Twitter to blast some of the league’s most respected names, Chris Kluwe made a mistake that ensures he’ll be respected even less than he already is, if that’s possible.
Punters are at the absolute bottom of the totem pole on an NFL roster, the very last man. If the team plane crashed on a deserted island, he’d be dinner as soon as the food ran out. Most of them know this and understand that it’s in their best interest to keep quiet
From there, Jackson spends about 6 or 7 HILARIOUS paragraphs explaining exactly why punters named Chris Kluwe should shut the fuck up. He ends with this:
But perhaps the moment most indicative of the separation between punter and football player is when one of his punts is returned for a touchdown. The punter, the nominal last line of defense, appears to be an invertebrate on a sheet of ice as he squirms into a position to make the tackle. His eyes widen and he splays his arms out to the side as if to embrace a giant teddy bear. The returner, with a quick head nod, sends the punter blindly lurching to the wrong side, into a Jell-O-like pile of his own shortcomings. That taken care of, he scoots off down the sideline for a touchdown.
When the team watches the film together the next day, it will not surprise them at all to see how feeble the punter looks. This will only sink him deeper into his locker and into his crime novels, searching harder for a way to convince himself that he is one of the guys, that when he speaks up, he is speaking for his peers. But he isn’t. And he shouldn’t.
Echoing the media’s trite narrative — those selfish players! — is a fool’s errand, and couldn’t be any stupider for someone who must keep the company of real NFL players, who know what it means to sacrifice. Kluwe’s satirical white board drawings and CBA negotiation parodies were harmless enough, I suppose, but even those echoed the sentiment of conventional media wisdom. Player wisdom is beyond him. It is true that greed is the operative byword, but it is not the greed of Manning or Brees or Mankins. It’s Kluwe’s greedy use of his roster spot as a platform from which to shit into cyberspace, knowing that people will pay attention. Well, now they are.
Chris Kluwe, quite the writer himself, responded to Jackson’s post, also via Deadspin. He takes issue with Jackson’s contention (I’m paraphrasing) that punters should be seen and not heard.
It was with some dismay that I read your piece in Deadspin and immediately tried to wrap my head around why a player with a reasonable grasp of the English language who made no measurable impact upon the game (i.e. you) would stoop so low as to berate a National Football League player who has actually completed a full 16-game season (multiple times!), has broken every team record at his position, and above all has contributed to his team winning games (and occasionally losing them [i.e. myself (I love parenthetical asides)]).
Raise your hand if you got lost at the end of that last sentence.
Let’s be honest here. Yes, I am a punter. Yes, I don’t run routes, or zone block, or cover receivers. Apparently, though, neither did you, which is the only explanation for your total lack of statistics. You, more than anyone else, should know what goes on during special teams, and yet your description of a special teams practice, while venomously hilarious, is quite inaccurate (or maybe you guys had a really crappy punter and you’re spot on, in which case, my condolences).
You talk about me like I’m some kind of disease, like punters are some kind of infection that should be excised for the good of the game and how dare we raise our voices when our betters are talking. According to you, punters should be happy to sit in the corner and be treated like shit because we do something different, something that the other 54 members of the team can’t do.
Kluwe goes on to explain that he passionately values his freedom of speech:
I don’t really care what you or anyone else thinks about what I say or when I say it. If I see something greedy, hypocritical, or just plain stupid, I’m going to call out whoever the offending party happens to be. I’ve done it to the owners; I’ve done it to the NFL front office; and I’ll certainly do it if I see it happen with the players. And make no mistake: trying to hold up the settlement of a CBA affecting almost 1,900 players just so four can get special treatment is pretty much the definition of greed. Whether it was instigated by their attorneys, agents, or whoever, it’s still a douchebag move to make.
And he ends his post with some polite parting words.
So, Nate Jackson, while I respect your right to free speech (as apparently you don’t respect mine), I also respect my right to tell you to go jam a tackling dummy up your ass sideways for being a snake-tongued, shit-talking Internet tough guy asshole who is so far out of touch with reality that you have no idea just how privileged we are to play this game for ridiculous amounts of money.
if you have time, I’d say read both posts. My thoughts? They’re both right–except I think I respect kickers a little bit more than Jackson does. Though I admit that I didn’t even bother to add “Chris Kluwe” to my blog categories cause I’m almost certain I will never mention him again on this blog. Even though he has some sort of groundswell of support since breaking ranks. SB Nation has dubbed him the coolest punter ever. Cause, you know, that title is so elusive. Almost like the Superbowl of superlatives, if you will.
Everyone knows where I stand on the players vs. owners. I won’t rehash. But from an objective standpoint, I thought Jackson wrote a slightly better piece though both were hilarious and surprisingly well-written. Hey, who says football players can’t read. Not me!