LGBT ally Chris Kluwe & Vikings reach a settlement regarding alleged discrimination

Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe

LGBT ally Chris Kluwe and his former employer, the Minnesota Vikings, have reportedly come to a settlement. The former Minnesota Viking punter had threatened to sue the Vikings over his claims of discrimination.

Kluwe alleged he was fired for his public support of the LGBT community and same-sex marriage.

The Associated Press reports “Kluwe vowed to sue because he was unhappy with the team’s resolution of his complaint against special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for alleged anti-gay slurs.”

Lawyers for the Vikings and Kluwe’s legal team apparently agreed to try to come to an agreement one last time. On Friday, Kluwe and his attorneys said that an agreement was reached.

The details of the agreement will be released next week, according to Kluwe’s attorney Clayton Halunen.

Chris Kluwe not happy over coach’s “wrist slap” over homophobic comments

Late Friday evening, the Minnesota Vikings released a summary of their months long investigation into allegations of homophobic comments made by special teams coach Mike Priefer.

Kluwe was somewhat vindicated as the report showed another team mate acknowledged hearing Priefer making one of the homophobic comments.  A comment Priefer vehemently denied a few months ago.

Priefer was suspended for 3 games and ordered to make a donation to LGBT organizations.

Kluwe spoke a reporter at KMSP about the results of the investigation and what steps he intends to take next:

“Players who get caught smoking weed or DUI get 4 games, and you’re telling me the guy who made a comment like ‘let’s round up all the gays put them on an island nuke it till it glows’ — he’s only going to get a slap on the wrist? … I think he’s probably sorry that all of this ever happened. I don’t think he’s truly sorry because in the report he kind of backs his way and says yeah, I kind of said it…The NFL is a league where you can get redemption for killing someone, for beating your wife in an elevator, for driving drunk, for a whole variety of things but when you speak out for civil rights, that’s the one thing you cannot get redeemed for.”

Kluwe has announced plans to file a lawsuit against the Vikings, and his legal team is still requesting a copy of the full 150-page investigation.


Minnesota Vikings coach Priefer to be suspended for confirmed homophobic remarks

Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer

In a statement released late Friday evening (good way to bury the story), the Minnesota Vikings announced special teams coach Mike Priefer will be suspended for three games in the coming season for confirmed homophobic remarks.

The comments were brought to light by former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who said his activism on behalf of LGBT rights made his superiors at the Vikings unhappy, leading to his release.  Kluwe waited until  the end of the football season to share his thoughts on the homophobia he felt he saw and heard while a member of the Vikings team.

Kluwe’s accusations were responsible for a months long investigation into whether a hostile or homophobic environment existed in the Vikings training sessions.

In a January essay for Deadspin, Kluwe contended that his 2013 release from the team was the result of his outspoken support for same-sex marriage.

He also said that former head coach Leslie Frazier pressured him to stop his public activism and that Priefer engaged in anti-gay taunts. Priefer repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations, but the team’s investigation concluded that the coach made a “single homophobic statement to Kluwe.”

Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler confirmed Kluwe’s account that Priefer once said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” Priefer owned up to the remark after Loeffler’s confirmation, according to a summary of the report that was released by the team.

Priefer’s penalty could be reduced to two suspended games should he choose to attend sensitivity training. In addition, the team also announced there will be a $100,000 donation to LGBT rights charities.

It should be underlined that when Preifer’s comments first came to light this past spring, he adamantly denied making them:

“I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe.

“I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.

“The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way. As a coach, I have always created an accepting environment for my players, including Chris, and have looked to support them both on and off the field.
The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family.”

Now, confronted with Loeffler’s confirmation, Priefer said, “If [Loeffler] remembers me saying something on the practice field, I am not going to disagree with it.” 

How light-weight and dodgy is that?

Kluwe maintains that the Vikings promised to release the full investigation and not merely the summary provided.  Through Twitter he’s made clear he intends to file a lawsuit against the team for $10 million, which all proceeds going to charity.

You can read the 29-page report of the investigation below:

Vikings investigation on Chris Kluwe’s allegations could mean vindication for Kluwe

The Viking Age reports that the Vikings vs Chris Kluwe investigation could come to a close soon, and it looks like there could be vindication for LGBT ally Kluwe.

Kluwe had raised allegations that he was released from his position as punter for the Vikings because of his marriage equality activism.

Journalist Mike Freeman recently tweeted, “I’m hearing Chris Kluwe report could be released very soon and report is favorable to Kluwe.”

From the Viking Age:

“Favorable to Kluwe” is vague enough that it could mean a lot of things, but we have to assume that any report generally favorable to Kluwe is going to be generally not-favorable to [Vikings special coordinator, Mike] Priefer. And since Priefer stands to lose more than anyone else if Kluwe’s allegations are found to have merit…well, let’s just say if there’s anyone out there who has reason to be tense, it’s Priefer.

NFL’s Chris Kluwe on Vikings investigation: I haven’t ruled out a lawsuit

Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe made an appearance on the David Pakman talk show regarding his allegations that his speaking out on behalf of LGBT rights played a part in him being released from the Vikings.

During the interview, Kluwe stated that a lawsuit might be in the cards if the Vikings announced investigation yields no evidence of what he says he experienced in his last season with the team:

“I haven’t ruled out a lawsuit,” Kluwe said Wednesday on the David Pakman Show. “I would really prefer not to have to do a lawsuit, because I loved my time on the Vikings, and I still have a lot of friends on the team and I love the organization. But if that’s what it takes — if that means getting people on the stand with the threat of perjury, then something that will have to happen, because I made very serious claims, and they need to be backed up.”

You can watch the discussion below:


Chris Kluwe talks to Anderson Cooper about Vikings homophobia

Former Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe discusses his allegations of homophobia in the Vikings organization which may have led to Kluwe’s release from the team.

Kluwe: “I made sure that I had witnesses because that’s a very easy defamation of character case and it would be pretty easy for him to prevail in a court of law…I am 100% confident in everything I related is how it happened and really encouraged by the fact that the Vikings are taking it seriously and opening an investigation because I think once they talk with people they’ll find out what happened.”

Anderson noted that the investigation does not have subpoena power so it’s up to players to cooperate and asks Kluwe if he thinks players will come forward.

Kluwe responded: “I’m confident because it’s the right thing to do. One thing that I’m going to push for is there must be anonymity for these witnesses because being black-balled in the NFL is a very real possibility and this is not something I’m going to force my friends to submit to…”

I love that Chris makes a statement by wearing a hat from the Principle 6 Campaign.

Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter states that any form of discrimination is incompatible with the Olympics, and the IOC has confirmed that this includes sexual orientation.

Chris Kluwe on the newly launched investigation regarding homophobia on the Minnesota Vikings staff

Former punter for the Minnesota Vikings Chris Kluwe says he’s more than happy to take part in the investigation to be conducted by the former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding homophobia behind the scenes at the Minnesota Vikings:

“I’m glad they’re taking it seriously. This is something I wrote down, because it’s what happened to me, and I’m 100 percent confident in what I wrote, and there are witnesses that will back me up. Let the investigation begin.”

I only know Chris Kluwe from his writing over the past couple of years and his very public voice. Based on nothing than my own gut, I’m inclined to believe his allegations.

We shall see what does – and does not – come to light.

Remember, the investigators are hired by the Vikings. So anything they find has to be given the green light by management before it can be released to the public.

Attorney/client privilege don’t you know…

Former Chief Justice of Minnesota Supreme Court to investigate allegations of Vikings’ homophobia

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that the Minnesota Vikings have hired two high level lawyers to investigate the allegations that have surfaced in Chris Kluwe’s essay on his firing from the team:

The Vikings have called in former Chief Justice of Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel to lead the investigation into former punter Chris Kluwe’s allegations released on Thursday.

“It is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations,” said Vikings Owner Mark Wilf in a press release.

Madel led the high-profile investigation of the Fiesta Bowl committee in Phoenix, Ariz. and has been named Minnesota Lawyer’s “Attorney of the Year” for the last three years.

I’m not sure how “fair” this will be since one side has hired the two lawyers. I’m assuming info will be shared with the Vikings management first due to “attorney/client” privilege.

So, there’s no telling how revealing this investigation may be. Honorable and distinguished as they may be, it would seem the lawyers will only be able to release findings per the permission of their clients.

Stay tuned.