Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe intends to sue team
Kluwe, 32, and his attorney, Clayton Halunen, held a news conference at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to announce their intention to file the lawsuit. Kluwe will sue for religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, defamation and tortuous interference.
Team officials launched an investigation after a first-person essay written by Kluwe was published on Deadspin in January. It was titled "I was an NFL Player Until I was Fired by Two Cowards and A Bigot."
In the essay, Kluwe describes special teams coach Mike Priefer as "a bigot who didn't agree with the cause I was working for" and recalls one exchange in which Priefer said, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows." Priefer, who remained on staff under new coach Mike Zimmer, denied allegations made by Kluwe.
Kluwe claims the Vikings made a promise that they would make public the results of the investigation, but the team said that they would not release them.
Halunen, Kluwe's attorney, spoke with the radio station KFAN.
"It's transparently obvious to me that the Vikings are covering up the truth," said Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen. "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.
Kluwe, who spent eight seasons with the Vikings, says the team cut him in May 2013 because of his public support for same-sex marriage.
The Vikings on Tuesday released a statement denying Kluwe's claims. Here is part of the statement:
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.
Halunen will meet with the team on Thursday and Kluwe said he will consider dropping the suit if the findings of the investigation are released.
- Chris Johnson