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Vikings Retain Attorneys to Investigate Chris Kluwe Homophobia Claims

The Minnesota Vikings announced today that it had hired attorneys to lead an investigation into claims by former punter Chris Kluwe, who said in an article published on Deadspin that he was released from the team because of his gay activism.

C_kluweSaid Kluwe in the piece:

It's my belief, based on everything that happened over the course of 2012, that I was fired by Mike Priefer, a bigot who didn't agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman, both of whom knew I was a good punter and would remain a good punter for the foreseeable future, as my numbers over my eight-year career had shown, but who lacked the fortitude to disagree with Mike Priefer on a touchy subject matter.

Kluwe also claimed that Priefer unleashed a homophobic rant in his presence, saying, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."

Wrote the Vikings in today's press release:

Former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel will lead the investigation.

“It is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf.

Magnuson, who is currently a partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P. and teaches at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, is highly-regarded in Minnesota and throughout the country. He has more than 35 years of practice, including over two years (2008-10) as the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Madel is the Chair of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P.’s Government and Internal Investigations Group, and has led numerous high-profile investigations, including the extensively publicized internal investigation of the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona. Madel has also been selected as the Minnesota Lawyer’s “Attorney of the Year” for 2011, 2012, and 2013, and is the first attorney to win the award for three consecutive years.

“This is a highly sensitive matter that we as an organization will address with integrity,” said Vikings Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Warren. “Eric and Chris have stellar reputations in both the local and national legal community. They have handled numerous cases involving a wide range of issues, and we are confident they will move swiftly and fairly in completing this investigation.”

Interviews have reportedly begun, according to the organization.

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  1. As a hetero, he doesn't get any LGBT protections under the law so he can't really claim discrimination. Still the fact that the Vikings didn't settle and is choosing to pursue indicates audacity and something more than what is being shared.

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 3, 2014 7:39:42 PM

  2. Kluwe was on MPR (MN public radio) and stated that he expects Priefer will sue him and he looks forward to it.

    Posted by: bkmn | Jan 3, 2014 7:39:58 PM

  3. This has made me rethink the whole duck dynasty phil robertson debacle.
    Chris Kluwe was fired by his employer for expressing his views. Phil Robertson was put on hiatus for awhile by his employer for expressing his views.
    The argument the right was making was that Roberston's freedom of speech was being violated. Our side was arguing that he could still say whatever he wanted. The government was not prohibiting him from speaking, but A&E didn't have to keep him on the air if it didn't want to.
    Aren't the same arguments the ones that can be made in the Kluwe case?

    Posted by: woody | Jan 3, 2014 7:48:37 PM

  4. "As a hetero, he doesn't get any LGBT protections under the law so he can't really claim discrimination."

    He isn't.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Jan 3, 2014 8:04:13 PM

  5. This should get interesting.

    Kluwe is a man of complete integrity so I doubt he'd make such claims unless they were absolutely true.

    Sounds like the attorneys are being hired to play defense since Kluwe apparently has kicked the ball dead on center.

    Posted by: Michael | Jan 3, 2014 8:27:13 PM

  6. To echtkultig - theres no evidence kluwe is gay and he certainly doesnt sound like a guy who has trouble expressing himself. Hes a great guy.

    Posted by: matt | Jan 3, 2014 8:35:23 PM

  7. @Matt, I think Echtkultig meant he isn't claiming sexual orientation discrimination.

    Posted by: JJ | Jan 3, 2014 9:03:17 PM

  8. @Woody, Phil Robertson's free speech was never at stake. A&E has the free speech right to decide what they put on their network. Phil Robertson's right to free speech doesn't entitle him to time on A&E.

    Posted by: JJ | Jan 3, 2014 9:17:32 PM

  9. While the Vikings' coaches may not have violated the law, I would guess that they probably violated numerous NFL policies and that's why they're probably trying to cover their ass. If the allegations are true, the NFL could probably impose some harsh penalties on the organization.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 3, 2014 9:24:12 PM

  10. Vikes hire a retired state Supreme Court Chief Justice as counsel. Yeah. They're expecting this to blow up and by now they know some of their employees were in the wrong. They may even be culpable.

    There was a room full of witnesses. One thing to stay silent when there's no dispute. Another thing altogether different when under oath.

    Still haven't heard from the NFL. Five players were going to come out & then it fell apart. Remember that spat of NFL players making comments abut possibly having a gay teammate? The two most vocal players in support of LGBT equality are now out of the NFL.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Jan 3, 2014 9:52:31 PM

  11. “It is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf.

    People you hire on your own initiative--especially lawyers--to investigate what you tell them to are the complete opposite of independent. Will the Vikings be waiving attorney-client privilege so their so-called independent investigators can publicize their findings independently?

    Posted by: JJ | Jan 3, 2014 10:23:43 PM

  12. I knew when I was reading Kluwe's article that this is a HUGE deal. The fire has certainly been lit. For the first time, I'm actually enjoying NFL drama. Go figure.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Jan 3, 2014 11:21:54 PM

  13. I can't help but wonder what will be the outcome of all of this, but if it is positive it may do move progress forward in a quick amount of time.

    I hate to play devil's advocate, but the fact that there is no evidence Kluwe is gay does not mean he is not gay. (I'm not saying he is gay, either.)I know guys who are gay who hide it and there is no evidence of it either to most people. Some of these men even pose as straight allies and make a point of supporting gay marriage.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Jan 4, 2014 5:29:29 PM

  14. One has to have a whole lotta built up supressed feelings to wish to put a group on an island and "nuke it til it glows"....

    Be willing to bet the Coach hung around that locker room just a bit longer than most Coaches...............

    Posted by: PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS | Jan 7, 2014 2:35:56 PM

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