EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe and his attorney have threatened to file a lawsuit against the team after accusing team officials of breaking a promise to share results of an independent investigation into allegations of homophobia and abusive behavior by special teams coach Mike Priefer.
Kluwe and his attorney, Clayton Halunen, called a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the legal steps they will take to gain access to a copy of the report, which they say the Vikings promised to make available. The former punter says the team informed his attorney Monday that no copy of the report would be available to Kluwe or the public.
"It is the first thing I will get in the course of discovery," Halunen said. "I don't understand the logic myself. This is going to be made public. Chris has a right to it under the rules of evidence. It is just going to be delayed for a period of time. If I am able I will make it public. "
At the news conference Kluwe and Halunen said they were prepared to sue the Vikings to force the club to release the findings of the investigation, but would rather settle the matter out of court. Kluwe says the Vikings have refused to take responsibility or be accountable for a discriminatory work environment, something he says happens in workplaces across the country.
"We thought this case was all wrapped up," said Halunen when referring to a possible settlement agreement. "Rather than Chris taking the money, he was going to, in his name, donate $1 million from the Vikings to charities that support LGBT causes. That is unfortunate because that money could do a lot of good work. "
The former punter says the only way to make progress is to acknowledge it is happening and take steps to change things.
Kluwe alleged in a Deadspin article in January that he was released by the Vikings for being an outspoken advocate for gay rights, and that his special teams coach had openly made homophobic comments and slurs intended to intimidate Kluwe.
"Writing the Deadspin piece probably ensured that I will never play in the NFL ever again," Kluwe said. "But I felt that this was something important that needed to come out and if that is the price I have to pay then that is the price I have to pay."
Despite Kluwe's accusations, Priefer remains on the Vikings staff. Kluwe also alleges that then-head coach Leslie Frazer tried to quash his activism, and that Spielman cut him for his outspoken ways.
Team officials hired former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel to complete an independent review of Kluwe's claims. Kluwe and his attorney say the Vikings promised to make a full report of the investigation available when it was completed, but say the club has gone back on its word.
Tuesday afternoon the Vikings released a statement saying the team has not yet received a report on the findings of the investigation, which was launched to determine why Kluwe was fired and whether a climate of homophobia and discrimination actually does exist in the organization. Late Tuesday the Vikings released a statement on Kluwe's allegations. It reads, in part:
As Magnuson and Madel confirmed, 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.