Report: Chris Kluwe will sue Vikings
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe on Friday said he will follow through with plans to sue the team after it decided to release what his lawyer says will be a "scrubbed" version of a report detailing an investigation into homophobic remarks allegedly made by an assistant coach in 2012.
Kluwe said the lawsuit would be filed "probably" as soon as possible. "I assume at the start of the business day Monday, we'll be in court," he told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Kluwe's attorney, Clayton Halunen, commented on the report's release.
Kluwe had said previously that the Vikings promised to release the results of the investigation. He released a statement on Friday.
Kluwe: “I’m disappointed by this. The Vikings have maintained all along they were going to be open and transparent with this process... — Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) July 18, 2014
Kluwe CONT. "and clearly they saw what was in the report and had no intention of doing so.’’ — Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) July 18, 2014
Kluwe and Halunen, held a news conference at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to announce their intention to file the lawsuit.
Halunen met with the Vikings on Thursday and reportedly said settlement negotiations with the team were ongoing.
The two sides, however, could not find common ground, according to Tomasson.
Vikings 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, has denied allegations made by Kluwe.
Kluwe reportedly said Friday that Priefer admitted to making homophobic remarks. One of the proposed terms of the settlement, according to a report, was that Priefer be suspended for four to eight games.
The lawsuit will be filed against the Vikings and Priefer and could reportedly seek more than $10 million in damages. Kluwe tweeted Friday that he intends to donate any money won in the case to an LGBTQ charity.
Halunen, Kluwe's attorney, spoke with the radio station KFAN on Tuesday.
"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.
Kluwe had said he would consider dropping the suit if the findings of the investigation are released.
Kluwe on Friday sent Tweets affirming his intention to file suit against his former team.
In another tweet, Kluwe wrote, "And yes, s*** is about to get real. Unfortunate that it has to come to this."
- Chris Johnson