This post on the Strib’s Access Vikings blog is particularly amusing. Here’s what I thought was amusing:
This morning at the Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton became the latest to question the Vikings on the Kluwe topic.
“I don’t feel good about it,” Dayton said. “I mean I’m not in position to evaluate the role and their punting abilities. But it seems to me the general manager said right after the draft that they were going to have competition. Well, then he brings the one guy [Locke] in, he kicks for a weekend and that’s the competition? I mean, I just think sports officials ought to be honest about what the heck is going on. Same way I think public officials should be honest about what’s going on. So that bothers me probably as much if not more than the actual decision.”
I agree that it’s important for public officials to be honest. Where was Gov. Dayton’s insistence on honesty when told politicians that the revenues from e-tabs would cover the state share of the Vikings stadium? Tons of people from across the political spectrum questioned whether they’d generate the revenue they needed. They criticized the funding mechanism loudly and persistently.
It’s now known by anyone who’s read a newspaper the last month that the e-tabs funding mechanism is a terrible failure. Needing $35,000,000 this year for the Vikings stadium, e-tabs generated $1,700,000, a $33,300,000 shortfall. That isn’t falling a little short. It isn’t even falling well short. That’s falling laughably short.
If you fall short by $300,000 or $400,000, people can reasonably say that it was just a tough year. You can’t say that when you fall short by 90+ percent.
As for the Vikings cutting Kluwe, his activism on the gay marriage issue caused the Vikings to rethink him as their punter. I didn’t read where they disagreed with Kluwe’s position on the issue. I did read where Kluwe’s punting suffered in terms of consistency in September and October, which they attributed to Kluwe’s advocacy.
The Vikings had the right, in fact the affirmative responsibility, to insist on Kluwe doing the job he was making $1,500,000 for last year.
In other words, the Vikings determined that Kluwe put a higher priority on his advocacy than on his profession. When a player is making $1,500,000 a year, that player’s team has a right to expect professionalism.
Kluwe didn’t live up to that expectation.