After word leaked last week that some big name players may be holding up the Lockout negotiations with personal demands, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe tweeted the following:
While calling anybody a douchebag is pretty inflammatory, calling Peyton Manning and Drew Brees douchebags is pretty much taking a blowtorch to a gas station. A lot of people thought he was out of line, and even worse, it was a punter doing it.
Which was exactly what Nate Jackson, former Tight End for the Denver Broncos, called him out in this piece for Deadspin.
Nate Jackson has found a nice little spot for himself writing about his experiences in football for Slate and the New York Times but chances are you haven’t heard of him either. If all you know about him is that he writes for the New York Times you have to assume he is a pretty smart guy right?
Then why did he spend his whole letter belittling what Chris Kluwe does for a living rather than calling him out on the divisiveness of his comments and apparent lack of respect? He starts off that way, talking about how he is breaking ranks and feeding into the public perception that the players are being greedy, but then he goes into “Punters aren’t football players” mode
Here are some highlights:
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.
Punters live in a small, insulated bubble that no one else cares to enter. They are not included in the inside jokes and they’re not invited to parties. Their lockers are tucked in a dark corner of the locker room, where they sit and read crime novels while the rest of the team watches film and learns a playbook that will be dead in a week, replaced by a new one.
The plays never change for a punter. During practice, while the rest of the team does football things, the punter stands off in space with his only two friends, the kicker and the snapper, reciting movie quotes and practicing his golf swing.
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.
By all accounts, especially his Twitter account, Chris Kluwe is not your average NFL Player. All you really need to know to prove that is that his twitter handle is @chriswarcraft from his affinity for World of Warcraft. In case that doesn’t do it for you, he is also in a band called Tripping Icarus and he created a parody of the World War II movie “Downfall” which is basically Hitler losing his mind subtitled to make it about the lockout. (You can watch it here.)
My question is this: Who the hell is Nate Jackson to be calling anybody out about what they do on the practice field and on Sundays? Sure he is a pretty good writer, but the truth is that in his 5 years with the Broncos he had 27 more catches than me.
Apparently, Kluwe agrees, which is why he ethered Jackson in a scathing response back at Deadspin. I have included it in its entirety below, because the whole thing is worth reading.
So Nate Jackson, Chris Kluwe is a better football player than you. Unfortunately for you, he is also a better writer than you. His point can be summed up with this line that appears below.
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.
Dear Nate Jackson,
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.
Wait, let’s parse that last clause for just a second — “something that the other 54 members of the team can’t do.” Huh. Would you look at that. Tell me, Nate, how well can you punt a football? What’s that you say? You CAN’T punt a football?
Then why in fuck would you think that, just because I can punt, my opinion is somehow less valid?
I freely admit I’m not a receiver, or a lineman, or a DB, or a quarterback, but why should it matter what position I play? Have I not spent 16 years of my life honing my craft (just like you)? Have I not spent countless hours running sprints, lifting weights, trying to stay awake during boring-ass special teams meetings (just like you)? Have I not suited up for a game, gotten my clock cleaned by a blindside block on a punt return, tried and failed to tackle Devin Hester (just like a lot of people)? Tell me, when it comes to breaking down who gets to talk, what’s the order? Should linebackers not be able to talk before safeties, or are they allowed to talk after the centers? When does the longsnapper get to chime in? Does the X go before the Z or after?
Please, enlighten me with your wisdom, because the next time I have something to say I’d like to make sure it’s OK with you that I say it and that I say it at the proper time.
Oh, wait a minute.
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 you know why it’s a douchebag move to make? Because it makes ALL OF US look bad. It makes ALL OF US look like grasping, blackmailing, money-grubbing jerks whose only care is how much blood we can squeeze from the rock that is the fans — you know, the people who ultimately pay all of our wages. And I’m not a fan of that. (Owners, make sure you pay attention, too. Charging outrageous sums for drinks, seats, and seat licenses, while a great moneymaker now, is definitely counterproductive in the long run, especially with the advent of high-def TVs). You know how you grow the football pie? It’s definitely not by shitting on the people who spend money on you. Maybe this is a small thing, but small things add up over time.
I’ll grant you that Mankins and Jackson got screwed by the CBA situation last year. They’re entering the prime of their career and were counting on entering free agency. But at the same time, the franchise tag and restricted free agent tag aren’t exactly the kiss of death. One year under the RFA offer would be as much money as a doctor earns in his/her ENTIRE LIFE. What. The. Fuck. You’re telling me that having to go one year making “only” as much money as most people will earn their entire lives is such a hardship that you need an extra $10 million payout for putting your name on a lawsuit? I honestly don’t know how to respond to that.
Oh wait, yes I do. It’s a douchebag move.
Speaking of which, my favorite part of your entire rant is the following: “If it is his goal to slide into a post-punter career as a presumptuous and accusatory football analyst, then he has set himself up quite nicely. …” Let’s replace “punter” with “tight end” and see how that reads. Ooooh, it reads quite nicely. I like it. At least I had the grace to do it in 140 characters or less, not this meandering shitstorm that you felt compelled to vomit out at someone you’ve never met, don’t know the first thing about, and likely might enjoy talking to if we ever met at a bar (someone who has written a meandering shitstorm of his own in rebuttal).
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.
You’re not the only one who can craft a sentence, my friend.
P.S. I respect all four of the people I called douchebags (Manning, Brees, Mankins, and Jackson). That’s why I used the word “douchebag” instead of “asshole” or “fuckwit.” Someone acting like a douchebag can still be redeemed; generally it’s a momentary lapse of judgment. There’s no hope for asshole fuckwits.
P.P.S. tl;dr — U mad bro?