Former punter for the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe, is suing the Vikings franchise. Kluwe and his attorney are in the process of suing the franchise for their refusal to release the results of a six-month independent investigation regarding the Vikings special-teams coordinator, Mike Priefer, to the media and public. Priefer was accused of making homophobic remarks during the 2012 NFL season.
The Minnesota Vikings suspended Priefer for three games in this upcoming season. In January, Chris Kluwe wrote an article on how his former coach had apparently made homophobic remarks to Kluwe during the 2012 season. This allegation brought attention to Priefer and resulted in an independent investigation to verify the remarks that were made. Not only was there a pending investigation on Priefer, but Kluwe stated he was released from the Vikings organization for his support for same-sex marriage.
In the Deadspin article written by Kluwe on January 2, he stated that he was released from the team for the wrong reasons. Kluwe claims he was released from the Vikings in May 2013 for his views on social issues, including his strong support towards same-sex marriage and gay rights. He had also stated that Priefer’s exact quote was “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island and nuke it until it glows.”
Mike Priefer admitted to making the statement, but the Vikings failed to release any information regarding the investigation to the public. They claim to have never agreed to release this information. The Vikings only released basic information regarding Priefer’s three-game suspension, but have yet to give the details to the media. Kluwe says that he was guaranteed, nearly six months ago, that this information would be available for the public, but now has no choice than to sue his former team.
Chris Kluwe has decided to sue the Vikings franchise for multiple reasons. His attorney, Clayton Halunen, stated that Kluwe will be suing his former team for defamation, sexual-orientation discrimination, and religious discrimination. Halunen and Kluwe agreed to drop the suit if the Vikings released the investigation details about Mike Priefer. Originally, the two requested that Priefer be suspended for four to eight games and that the franchise donate $1 million to various organizations that supports same-sex marriage. The Vikings only agreed a fraction of the requested donation and would only settle for $100,000. They also declined to release the investigation reports to the public.
Halunen also stated that Kluwe will be suing the Vikings for the defamation of his character and emotional distress, which includes a request for at least $10 million in damage fees. While Chris Kluwe believes that he was released from the Vikings for his affiliation with same-sex marriage, the Minnesota football team claimed that Kluwe was released for reasons other than his support for same-sex marriage. They claimed that the former punter suffered from a decline in performance. It was also a priority to sign a rookie punter versus the eight-year veteran to save with financial drafting. Kluwe did not agree with these reasons concerning his release from the team.
Chris Kluwe was disappointed and unsatisfied when he found out that Priefer would only be suspended for three games. These three games could even eventually reduce to two games if he attends a sexual-orientation sensitivity training, one in which also specializes in anti-harassment. Kluwe’s NFL career came crashing to an end after being released from the Vikings, allegedly for simply expressing his support for gay rights. He was criticized by his former special-teams coordinator, who only received a three game suspension. With this, Chris Kluwe and his attorney believe that the public should be aware of the situation and just how the Minnesota Vikings handled this issue.
Commentary by Tricia Manalansan