Amid new lawsuit, Kluwe's rep says report confirms homophobic remarks
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings and Chris Kluwe ordeal took another ugly turn Monday night when a KSTP report claimed the team was reconsidering releasing an investigative report because it was "damaging and embarassing" to the organization.
On Tuesday, Kluwe announced his intent to file a lawsuit against the Vikings on four separate grounds -- led by his desire to make the report public, which his attorney Clayton Halunen claims the Vikings refused to do in a Monday meeting.
In separate statements, the Vikings and their representation have denied any allegation that they had "made or broken promises" to make the report available to either the public or Kluwe and his lawyers. Both sides have a meeting set for Thursday.
"They have indicated they do not have an intent to release the report to us or to the public," Halunen said. "Then I read in the newspaper that it was: 'At this time, but they may in the future.' So I don't know where we're at, but I know they're not going to give it to us."
Amid the new lawsuit, which Halunen claims is on the basis of (1) religious discrimination, (2) human rights statute for sexual orientation discrimination, (3) defamation and (4) interferance with contract negotiations, Kluwe's reps also revelaed that the report confirms homophobic remarks made by current special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who was the main target of Kluwe's allegations.
"We do know that it has been corroborated that Priefer did, in fact, make the 'nuke the gay' statement by witnesses," Halunen said. "We know Priefer initially denied any knowledge of the statement. When asked a second time, he again denied but until it was corroborated by witnesses, he finally relented, told the truth and admitted it."
Halunen claimed his knowledge of the report extends to findings that could look bad for general manager Rick Spielman.
"We understand there is evidence that would connect Rick Spielman to knowledge of Chris' reports, accusations against Priefer -- prior to Chris' renewal of his contract, clearly connecting a relation in time to the decision to not renew his contract," Halunen said.
Kluwe initially made the allegations in a Deadspin piece posted in January that former coach Leslie Frazier, Spielman and Priefer were all involved in either discrimination or covering up known transgressions in commonplace meetings inside the Vikings organization.
The Vikings responded by hiring legal counsel to perform an investigation into Kluwe's claims. That report has become the crux of the most recent legal hurdle. The process has taken nearly seven months and now the Vikings claim they've seeked out another law firm to "evaluate employment law matters and provide findings and recommendations to the Vikings. Those recommendations are to be provided to the team this week."
If the Vikings were to make the report available to the public, Kluwe and his representation say they'd reconsider the lawsuit. However, simply releasing the report won't satisfy Halunen.
"We would like to resolve this out of court if we can," Halunen said. "But there are other terms attached."