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Former Punter Chris Kluwe Threatens Lawsuit against Vikings

Updated: 07/16/2014 7:29 AM
Created: 07/15/2014 11:48 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart

Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe says he plans to file a lawsuit against the Minnesota Vikings because they reneged on a promise to give him a copy of their investigation into his allegations of anti-gay conduct by a coach.

The Vikings hired two outside lawyers in January to examine Kluwe's claims that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer used slurs and taunts to try to quash Kluwe's outspoken support for gay marriage. Priefer denied the allegations.

Kluwe's attorney, Clayton Halunen, says the Vikings told him Monday that the team won't provide a copy of the report to him or the public.

Kluwe said keeping the report private won't help prevent workplace discrimination. The investigation was conducted by former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Justice Department trial attorney Chris Madel.

"I think it's just important that everyone is able to see what's there," he said. "Yeah, it'll probably hurt. These things always do. But the only way we're ever going to fix it is if we acknowledge that."

Halunen said during a news conference on Tuesday that Kluwe has grounds to sue the team for religious and sexual orientation discrimination, defamation and intentional interference with contractual negotiations.

Kluwe was cut in May 2013 after eight seasons with the Vikings.

The Vikings released the following statement Tuesday:

Since Chris Kluwe’s allegations first appeared in Deadspin on January 2, 2014, the Minnesota Vikings have taken them very seriously, which is why the team immediately retained former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel, two partners of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P. (RKMC), to perform an independent review of these allegations. Magnuson and Madel were asked to thoroughly and comprehensively investigate three particular allegations by Kluwe and Kluwe’s counsel:

1) Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer made offensive and insensitive remarks in Kluwe’s presence.
2) Representatives of the Vikings had knowledge of these comments prior to the Deadspin article publication on January 2, 2014.
3) Kluwe’s activism was the reason for his release from the Vikings on May 6, 2013.

Magnuson, Madel and others spent nearly six months conducting an exhaustive investigation. After the Vikings were given the investigative materials from Magnuson and Madel, in order to further maintain objectivity and integrity, the team engaged a nationally-prominent law firm – Littler Mendelson P.C. – to evaluate employment law matters and provide findings and recommendations to the Vikings. Those recommendations are to be provided to the team this week.

As Magnuson and Madel confirmed today, the Vikings have never made or broken promises as Kluwe and his attorney Clayton Halunen have claimed. The Vikings have also never engaged in the various comments that Kluwe and Halunen have provided to the media over the past six months. This Thursday, July 17, the team has a meeting scheduled between Halunen and Vikings attorneys to discuss next steps.

As we have consistently communicated throughout this process, the Vikings will have further comment when the investigation is entirely complete and the team has made determinations on next steps.

Watch Reporter Jay Koll's one-on-one interview with Kluwe here.


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