Former punter Chris Kluwe and his attorney, Clayton Halunen, announced Tuesday that Kluwe will sue the Minnesota Vikings over his release last year in hopes of getting the club to unveil the findings of a six-month independent investigation into the allegations of anti-gay conduct by a coach.
“It’s transparently obvious to me that the Vikings are covering up the truth,” said Halunen, per KFAN.com. “We have no choice but to litigate at this point. Kluwe willingly cooperated with the Vikings’ investigation – all he ever wanted was for the truth to come out.”
“It’s outrageous to me that the Vikings would choose to hide the facts of the investigation from me and from their fans,” Kluwe said.
“Minnesota Vikings fans are the real losers in this sad affair,” he said. “The fans deserve to know that what I said about Priefer and the way the Vikings let me go was the truth. I was persecuted and then fired for standing up for what I believe in, all because some small-minded, bigoted people think that homophobia is okay in the NFL. It is not okay, and now it seems like we’ll have to go to court to force the Vikings to admit that.”
Kluwe was released from the team in May 2013 after he claimed in a Jan. 2 Deadspin piece that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer used slurs and taunts towards him because of his outspoken support for gay marriage.
Halunen said Kluwe will sue the Vikings for religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, defamation and tortious interference with contractual obligations. But Kluwe would reconsider the suit if the Vikings release the report.
Statement from Vikings:
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.