The curse of the Browns is alive and well, even after vanquishing their 18-year playoff drought. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, as well as two assistant coaches and two players, including three-time Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio, have all tested positive for COVID-19. They will all be unavailable for their playoff game on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This was going to be a “poor Browns” article at first. I was going to wax poetically about the plight of Browns fans and list in detail the tumultuous, grotesque football they have endured over nearly two decades. I was, until I saw this little nugget.
With Stefanski out, the Browns will turn to special teams coordinator Mike Priefer to act as head coach on Sunday.
When I read that name, it took me a minute. I paused and asked myself “wait… why do I know him?”
This is why. Back in 2013, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe described in detail horrendous, bigoted remarks that Priefer made to him. At one point, Priefer said in a team meeting, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”
As was previously outlined on Deadspin, the Vikings conducted their own internal investigation, suspended him for three games in 2014, and made him participate in sensitivity training. That was it. For five years after that, they allowed him to retain his role in the Vikings coaching staff.
In 2019, Priefer joined the Cleveland Browns, after receiving contract offers from multiple teams around the league.
That brings us to today, when this homophobic, hate-spewing leech will once again be awarded the opportunity to act as head coach for an NFL team, and will be fortunate enough this time to do so during an NFL playoff game.
Pardon my fury, but what in the actual fuck is this guy still doing in the league? Why, when a broad depth of qualified candidates could be found, would someone as vile as this with a detailed track record of homophobic comments towards members of the team that he coached be rewarded with his position?
The feelings of sorrow for the Cleveland Browns and their fans should be outweighed by disgust and outrage that this man will once again be wearing a headset, while the league that above all strives to “protect the shield” will turn its cheek and prove, through silence, that it has zero integrity.