Chris Kluwe hires his own legal defense for Vikings' investigation
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Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has hired his own legal defense to represent him in the team's internal investigation into his allegations that stem from a Deadspin article Kluwe authored last week, which included claims that special teams coach Mike Priefer used homophobic remarks in a team setting.
Kluwe has retained Minneapolis attorney Clayton Halunen, per multiple reports. Kluwe also has the backing of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, as Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted.
Kluwe also represented by National Center for Lesbian Rights, which could provide deep pockets for defamation defense if Priefer sues— Brian Murphy (@murphPPress) January 6, 2014
The Vikings retained two attorneys last week to conduct their internal investigation, including former U.S. attorney Chris Madel. Madel worked with the Vikings in 2003 when he investigated a team fundraiser that included allegations of sexual assault.
Kluwe's Jan. 2 post, which has already logged the most unique views in the eight-year history of Deadspin, also stated that he was let go by the team, in part, due to his outspoken belief in marriage equality.
The Vikings deny the allegations.
By the evening of Jan. 2, Priefer issued a statement 'vehemently' denying the allegations, which included his alleged use of homophobic language. Kicker Blair Walsh, among other Vikings' players, came to Priefer's defense -- with Walsh calling Kluwe's claims 'reprehensible.'
According to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, Kluwe does not have audio recordings of Priefer's comments, which he claimed were made in the fall of 2012, but said he's willing to name other players who heard the supposed comments.
"It's obvious to me -- as it should be to most thinking people familiar with the situation -- that Chris [Kluwe] paid a steep price for speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage rights in 2012 while he was a Vikings player," Halunen said in the news release. "Ultimately it may have cost him both his job with the Vikings and his career as an NFL player, along with much emotional anguish over what he believed to be a kind of personal attack on him for his views on a vital issue of human rights."