Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe announced today that he intends to sue his former team.
The outspoken former NFL player says he is suing because the Vikings won't release results of an internal investigation the team conducted after Kluwe accused special teams coordinator Mike Priefer of using homophobic slurs during the 2012 season, as reported by KFAN's A.J. Mansour.
According to the Star Tribune, Kluwe and his attorney Clayton Halunen say the Vikings are “reneging on a promise” to release details of an internal investigation the team conducted after Kluwe slammed Priefer in an article published by Deadspin in January.
On June 12, the Pioneer Press reported that the team's investigation would be completed within two weeks. Chris Mandel, a lawyer hired by the Vikings, noted that results of the investigation would be released 10 days after completion.
“That’s very good news,” Kluwe had told the Pioneer Press. “We’ve been waiting a while, and I think everybody is anxious to see what it contains.’’
"Minnesota Vikings fans are the real losers in this sad affair," Kluwe told KFAN. "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."
Although details of the investigation haven't been made public, Halunen said Priefer finally "told the truth" during a third interview with investigators.
Vikings Issue Statement
The Vikings responded with a statement, noting that the internal investigation "thoroughly and comprehensively" investigated Kluwe's accusations against Priefer, whether Vikings personnel had knowledge of the alleged comments before the Deadspin article went public and whether Kluwe's support for gay rights had anything to do with his release.
The investigation was conducted by 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.
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 in employment matters – 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.
Halunen said Kluwe would prefer to settle the issue outside of the courtroom.