Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kluwe Plans Lawsuit if Vikings Don't Release Investigative Reports

Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe announced his intentions to file suit against the Minnesota Vikings at his press conference Tuesday morning. 

Updated: July 15th, 2014 11:58am

By: Daniel House

At a press conference this morning, Chris Kluwe announced his intentions to file suit against the Minnesota Vikings if they don't release the investigative reports.

A former Vikings punter, Kluwe brought allegations against the Vikings six months ago claiming that special teams coach Mike Priefer had made homophobic attacks on him as a member of the team in 2012. The team then launched an internal investigation before reportedly informing Kluwe on Monday that they would not be releasing their investigations' final report to Kluwe or the public.

“Sweeping it under the rug and keeping the report private does not help," Kluwe explained during his press conference.

Kluwe's officials says they know it has been substantiated that Priefer made a "nuke the gays" statement and Priefer admitted. Priefer was supposedly interviewed three times and "finally told the truth the final time", according to Kluwe's attorney. Vikings GM Rick Spielman was also mentioned and Kluwe's attorney claimed he knew about the allegations, as well.

"The Vikings are not above the law, but they appear to be acting as they are," said Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen.

They also claimed the Vikings are unwilling to release the investigative report to Kluwe's team or the general public.

“At no time during the July 14 meeting did Madel, Magnuson, or Robbins tell Halunen that the Vikings “would not provide a copy of the report to either Kluwe or the public”

Kluwe and his legal team plan to meet with the Vikings on Thursday to discuss action.

“We would like to resolve this out of court if we can," explained Halunen.

The Vikings and Kluwe's team reportedly were discussing a settlement, of which $1 million would be contributed to LGBT causes. Halunen indicated they are far away from reaching an agreement and a lawsuit seems to be the next step.

Kluwe's legal team is still deciding whether this trial will take place at the state level, but they have established the basis for lawsuit. They will claim Defamation, Religious Discrimination, Tortuous interference with contractual relations, and Retaliatory termination.

The Vikings released a statement prior to the press conference, announcing that the investigation had not yet been completed.

"Since Chris Kluwe’s allegations first appeared in Deadspin on January 2, 2014, the Minnesota Vikings have taken them very seriously, which is why the team immediately retained former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel, two partners of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P. (RKMC), to perform an independent review of these allegations. Magnuson and Madel were asked to thoroughly and comprehensively investigate three particular allegations by Kluwe and Kluwe’s counsel:

1) Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer made offensive and insensitive remarks in Kluwe’s presence.
2) Representatives of the Vikings had knowledge of these comments prior to the Deadspin article publication on January 2, 2014.
3) Kluwe’s activism was the reason for his release from the Vikings on May 6, 2013.

Magnuson, Madel and others spent nearly six months conducting an exhaustive investigation. After the Vikings were given the investigative materials from Magnuson and Madel, in order to further maintain objectivity and integrity, the team engaged a nationally-prominent law firm – Littler Mendelson P.C. – to evaluate employment law matters and provide findings and recommendations to the Vikings. Those recommendations are to be provided to the team this week.
As Magnuson and Madel confirmed today, 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
As we have consistently communicated throughout this process, the Vikings will have further comment when the investigation is entirely complete and the team has made determinations on next steps."

The Vikings organization will be under pressure over the coming weeks to handle this issue and release the facts. All of this comes just eight days before the Vikings report to training camp in Mankato, MN. Stay tuned for the latest details, as Kluwe and his legal team prepare to file a lawsuit against the Vikings organization.

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