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Vikings Investigation Into Chris Kluwe's Allegations Of Homophobia Nearing Close

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Earlier this year former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe alleged that his contract was not renewed with the team because of his public statements in support of same-sex marriage. The Vikings have stated that their decision to let Kluwe go was due entirely to his performance on the field, a statement that Kluwe claims is false. Kluwe previously stated that were an independent investigation not to corroborate his claims, he would likely sue the Vikings. SB Nation reports that said investigation is nearing completion and the findings are soon to be released.

As The Viking Age points out, journalist Mike Freeman recently tweeted, "I'm hearing Chris Kluwe report could be released very soon and report is favorable to Kluwe":

“Favorable to Kluwe” is vague enough that it could mean a lot of things, but we have to assume that any report generally favorable to Kluwe is going to be generally not-favorable to [Vikings special coordinator, Mike] Priefer. And since Priefer stands to lose more than anyone else if Kluwe’s allegations are found to have merit…well, let’s just say if there’s anyone out there who has reason to be tense, it’s Priefer.

Kluwe made a name for himself in the movement for marriage equality, coming to the defense of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a fellow advocate for gay marriage. Together Kluwe and Ayanbadejo filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in relation to Hollingsworth v. Perry, as a means to express their shared opposition to California’s Prop 8.


Is the NFL Ready to Accept Michael Sam? - VIDEO

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On This Week, George Stephanopoulos asks Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler, NFL punter Chris Kluwe, and Pete Thamel, the author of the disappointing Sports Illustrated article which featured 8 anonymous NFL execs discussing the NFL's lack of readiness for an openly gay player, what Michael Sam will face in the coming weeks.

And Outsports' Cyd Zeigler expresses his indignation that the media is responsible for fabricating the "struggle" Sam supposedly faces to get into the league.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chris Kluwe Implores Olympians To Speak Out Against Russia's Abuses

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Chris Kluwe has been a phenomenal ally to the LGBTQ community, speaking loudly and unambiguously in support of LGBTQ rights and issues, even at the cost of his own professional football career. Now the former Vikings punter is calling on Olympic athletes to show similar courage and speak up on the human rights abuses administered by the Russian government against its LGBT citizens.

Said Kluwe in the article he wrote for the Guardian:

Speak up for LBGTQ rights, for human rights, for empathy? The world will pay attention, and take notice. Stay silent, keep your head down, count the money and endorsements? The world will pay attention, and take notice. Either way, you're the one who has to live with what you did or didn't do.

I hope that athletes speak out at Sochi on LBGTQ issues, even knowing the possible risks that await them.

With the opening ceremonies right around the corner it won't be long before we see which companies and athletes will speak up for what's right, and which ones will keep their heads down and hope the world doesn't notice.


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

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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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