Kluwe Still Plans To Take Vikings To Court Despite Priefer Suspension
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says he’s still taking the team to court.
He plans to file a defamation and discrimination lawsuit this Wednesday in Hennepin County.
The team Friday night suspended a coach that Kluwe had complained about for making anti-gay remarks.
After a six-month investigation, the Vikings gave Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer a three-game suspension.
But that could be reduced to two games, after sensitivity training.
Kluwe and his attorney Clayton Halunen say there should have been more severe repercussions for Priefer.
“We’re talking about a leader, a coach of people, who publicly made a statement, a hateful statement, about annihilating an entire group of people,” Halunen told WCCO Saturday. “Any responsible employer who has an employee that engaged in that conduct, I guarantee that person would be fired.”
Halunen says the Vikings are hiding a lot of information that the public should know about.
Information he says shows there was a culture of homophobia within the organization, one he says put an end to Kluwe’s career.
“My client’s childhood dream was to play in the NFL. And He loved every minute of it and but for his involvement in gay rights, he’d still be there,” Halunen said.
Halunen says Preifer’s conduct violated the Vikings Code of Conduct and NFL policy.
In the Vikings report of its independent investigation released Friday night, Priefer apologized for his remark and said he will learn from this situation.
The Vikings noted they did not find sufficient evidence to support Kluwe’s claims that he was released from the team because of his activism for same sex marriage.
Only that coaches and players expressed concern his activism was creating a distraction and that Kluwe was let go because of his declining performance.
Halunen says that’s not true and information that surfaced during the investigation supports their claims, information he says the Vikings have chosen not to release.
“We think it’s very important the truth, the complete truth, be made public,” Halunen said.
We contacted Vikings spokesperson Jeff Anderson Saturday about the lawsuit.
He told us they have no further comment other than what’s in the report released Friday.
Anderson says players and coaches will be available for interviews later this week at training camp.
Kluwe is seeking wages for lost compensation, benefits and emotional stress.
He posted on Twitter any money received from the lawsuit will go to support LGBT causes.
During all of this, Kluwe’s own character has come under fire.
He has taken heat for jokes he made about the Penn State sex scandal a couple of years ago that have been called offensive and inappropriate, and he admitted to it.
Clearly there will likely be more things coming out from both sides as this goes forward.