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Canadian Sports Network Takes Engaging Look At Homophobia In Sports: VIDEO

Robbie

Canadian Sports Network TSN recently did a three part series on homophobia in sports titled “ReOrientation: The Culture of Casual Homophobia.” Former NHL player turned broadcaster Aaron Ward runs the series and interviews openly gay athletes like Robbie Rogers and former NFL player Esera Tuaolo along with allies such as Chris Kluwe and NHL players Dustin Brown and Ben Scrivens. Ward also spoke to Patrick Burke, founder of the You Can Play Project, who coined the term, “casual homophobia.” Said Scrivens of the way in which homophobic slurs are jocularly passed around the locker room,

“I don't see that it just comes out, that people have no control over what they're saying. But at the same time you get into a group where you've acted the same way around this group for, you know, your entire adult life essentially and you know it's not just, you’re not going cold turkey on this stuff as much as we’d like it to you—things are getting better I mean—”

“It’s going to take time,” Brown interjects.

“It’s going to take time,” Scrivens agrees.

Ward points out the difficulty he had in getting hockey players to speak candidly about this issue: 

“We struggled to get participation from players. Over a nine month period we reached out to 12 different National Hockey League teams. Could not get cooperation. It was a struggle to get guys to sit down be comfortable and honest in front of the camera. Now what you see is obviously easy to sit down and read words for a PSA. It's an absolute other thing to sit down to be honest and in-depth and clear about how you feel about this process and this issue in its own right so it’s almost a barometer of where we are today.”

Watch all three episodes of the series AFTER THE JUMP…

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Chris Kluwe Identifies Witnesses in Homophobia Claims Against Vikings Official

Back in January Chris Kluwe wrote a piece on Deadspin accusing the Vikings organization of releasing him for his anti-gay activism and said that he was fired by special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer, a "bigot", who said, very serious, in front of other teammates, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."

KluweKluwe's accusations prompted an investigation and the former punter and his lawer Clayton Halunen spoke for five hours with investigators on Friday and named two players said to be witnesses to Priefer's remarks, Pioneer Press reports:

In a five-hour meeting Friday with investigators, Halunen said Kluwe identified [kicker Blair] Walsh and long snapper Cullen Loeffler as witnesses to Priefer allegedly making homophobic comments numerous times during the 2012 season in meetings with the punter, kicker and long snapper, and that Pico was told about it after the fact. Halunen noted that Kluwe told investigators he is willing to take a polygraph test.

Walsh issued a statement through the Vikings on Jan. 2 in defense of Priefer. But Halunen said Kluwe retained text messages in which Walsh referenced what Priefer allegedly said, including a text related to Priefer allegedly saying, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."

"If Walsh is going to lie, this will all be exposed, I'm confident,'' Halunen said. "If Walsh is going to lie, that's his choice. But at the end of the day, we believe this is going to come out. We have evidence. So he made that choice, I guess.''

PrieferWalsh did not specifically say Priefer (right) did not make the remarks but testified to his "integrity and character" in his statement, according to the paper.

Halunen "believes the Vikings will end up contending that what Priefer said was a joke" and Kluwe will likely sue if Walsh Loeffler, and director of player personnel Les Pico lie during the investigation:

Halunen said if Walsh, Loeffler and Pico deny during the investigation having knowledge of Priefer's alleged homophobic remarks, Kluwe would consider legal action due to his client wanting to protect his integrity. Halunen said the three then would be under oath, unlike during the investigation.


Chris Kluwe Will Sue Vikings If Internal Investigation Comes Up Clean: VIDEO

Chris Kluwe

When former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe came out with allegations that he was fired for his outspoken support of LGBT issues, complete with witnesses to corroborate his story, the Vikings went on the defensive with denials and even hired an attorney to conduct an internal investigation. Kluwe doesn't appear to have much faith in the integrity of that investigation and has said that he will file a lawsuit if the Vikings' lawyers don't uncover any instances of homophobia or an antigay locker room environment.

In an interview with talk show host David Pakman, Kluwe said:

I haven't ruled out a lawsuit. I would really prefer not to have to do a lawsuit, because I loved my time on the Vikings, and I still have a lot of friends on the team and I love the organization. But if that's what it takes — if that means getting people on the stand with the threat of perjury, then something that will have to happen, because I made very serious claims, and they need to be backed up.

You can see a video of the full interview AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chris Kluwe: Tim Tebow and I are Being Shut Out of the NFL for Similar Reasons — VIDEO

Kluwe

Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe joined Keith Olbermann last night to talk about his claims that he was released from the Vikings because of his gay activism. Kluwe told Olbermann that the NFL doesn't want players speaking out on anything.

"If head coaches had their way, it would be, players wake up, they think about football, they go practice, they go to sleep, and they dream about football. And that would be all that there is."

Kluwe suggested that evangelical Christian lightning rod Tim Tebow is being shut out for the same reasons:

"As much as we are polar opposites on the things we stand for, Tebow is the exact same way...There are backup quarterbacks in the NFL right now that Tebow is certainly better than — he could fill a role with a team. But because he brings this other stuff with him, just like I bring my other stuff with me, teams look at it like, 'Well, we don’t want it. We don’t want players speaking out. We don’t want players doing anything other than football.'"

Kluwe also explains the timeline in which he was shut down by the organization for speaking out about marriage equality.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chris Kluwe Joins Anderson Cooper and Chris Hayes to Discuss Vikings Homophobia Claims: VIDEO

Kluwe_anderson

Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe joined CNN's Anderson Cooper and MSNBC's Chris Hayes last night to discuss claims he made last week regarding homophobia at the Minnesota Vikings organization and objections to his gay rights advocacy which eventually led to him being released from the team.

"I made sure that I had witnesses because that's a very easy defamation of character case and it would be pretty easy for him to prevail in a court of law...I am 100% confident in everything I related is how it happened and really encouraged by the fact that the Vikings are taking it seriously and opening an investigation because I think once they talk with people they'll find out what happened."

Anderson noted that the investigation does not have subpoena power so it's up to players to cooperate and asks Kluwe if he thinks players will come forward.

"I'm confident because it's the right thing to do. One thing that I'm going to push for is there must be anonymity for these witnesses because being black-balled in the NFL is a very real possibility and this is not something I'm going to force my friends to submit to..."

Said Kluwe to Hayes about the possibility of an openly gay player coming out sometime soon:

"This doesn't just happen to me. This happens to millions of people across the country. But things are getting better. Progress is being made. At the same time, we can't just be content with the progress that's been made. We have to strive for more progress so that when that player does come out they know that they have support..."

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chris Kluwe Retains NCLR to Represent Him During Vikings Investigation

Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe has retained attorneys from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Clayton Halunen to represent him during the Minnesota Vikings' investigation of claims he made last week of a homophobic culture at the team which led to his firing, ABC5 reports:

Uniform_kluweKluwe said he plans to "fully cooperate" with the Vikings' investigation, and said his hiring of legal counsel should not be interpreted as a signal of intent to file a lawsuit. "I want the truth to come out from the investigation, not in litigation," Kluwe said.

In an article he published on Deadspin recently, Kluwe alleged that Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer made derogatory remarks about gays and other members of the LGBT community both to him personally and in team meetings. The alleged remarks were made in 2012, when Kluwe was still a member of the Vikings and also when he was speaking out publicly against passage of a constitutional referendum in Minnesota to restrict marriage to heterosexual-only couples. Priefer issued a statement “strongly denying” the allegations, and the Vikings released a statement about the article.

Kluwe alleged that Priefer’s remarks were intended to humiliate him into silence. When that didn’t happen, Kluwe alleged, other members of the Vikings management team pressured him to tone down his off-the-field comments in favor of equal marriage rights for all. Finally, the team cut him from the squad prior to the start of the 2013 season. He has not played in the NFL since then.


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