Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe plans to sue his old team for religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, defamation and tortuous interference, in an effort to get them to release their findings into whether Mike Priefer, former head coach Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman cut Kluwe due to his outspoken views on gay rights. In other words, this is getting ugly for Minnesota.
As a quick reminder: Kluwe says that Priefer made “offensive and insensitive remarks in Kluwe’s presence,” that team representatives (i.e. Spielman and Frazier) knew about these remarks, and that he was released as a result of his religious views (or lack thereof) and activism. The team opened an investigation into Kluwe’s claims, which came from a devastating essay penned back in January, but — according to a statement released today — never planned to make the results public.
Kluwe claims that he was promised a public unveiling of the findings, and said in a press conference with his lawyer today that he’ll sue rather than pursue a $1 million settlement (which would have been donated to LGBT advocacy organizations) since the Vikings broke that promise.
The assumption around the league and media is that the Vikings found their organization failed to handle Kluwe’s situation correctly, and want to avoid the scrutiny of having to admit it. Otherwise, what would be the harm in releasing the findings? They’d probably get sued anyway, but at least they can say they did their best to find wrong-doing and simply didn’t.
To be fair, the Vikings were probably screwed the moment Chris Kluwe wrote that essay. It was a massive PR hit to simply be accused of this kind of conduct, but now that they’ll have to defend their stance in court, this story takes on a whole new angle and life. Unless the Vikings really love Priefer (and, like, EW, right, guys loving other guys?), they’d be wise to let this one go and see where the courts and public take it.
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