Chris Kluwe punted for the Vikings for eight years before the team released him prior to the 2013 season. (Tom Dahlin/Getty)
The lawyer for former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said Saturday that he has text messages from witnesses that corroborate Kluwe's claims that he was released because of his political views, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Kluwe's lawyer, Clayton Halunen, identified kicker Blair Walsh as one of the witnesses, and said that Walsh sent texts corroborating Kluwe's claims. On Jan. 2, Kluwe wrote a first-person account on Deadspin claiming the Vikings released him because of his outspoken views on marriage equality and that special teams coordinator Mike Preifer made offensive remarks repeatedly in his presence. Preifer denied making the comments, and the organization said Kluwe was released for football reasons.
After Kluwe's article was published, the team released a statement saying the Vikings were unaware of Kluwe's allegations prior to publication. Halunen said that is not true and that shortly before his release, Kluwe met with director of player personnel Les Pico to complain about Preifer's behavior.
Vikings ownership released a statement to the Pioneer Press following Halunen's allegations:
Vikings ownership was entirely unaware of Chris Kluwe’s allegations prior to the Deadspin article earlier this month. Immediately following the release of that story, we authorized our Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Warren to retain former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel to determine all of the facts in this case. That comprehensive investigation, which has already included interviews with nearly two dozen current and former Vikings employees, is ongoing and we cannot comment further.