Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe plans to sue the team for religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, defamation and tortious interference with contractual relations.
“At this point we have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the Vikings, which we intend to do shortly,” Kluwe’s attorney Clayton Halunen said.
Halunen said the first thing he will obtain in discovery is a copy of the team’s investigation into Kluwe’s accusations that anti-gay sentiments were expressed by special teams coach Mike Priefer and that Kluwe’s advocacy on behalf of LGBT causes led to his firing. He plans to make the report public if possible.
Kluwe said the team was going back on an agreement to release a report on an investigation done by former U.S. Department of Justice attorney Chris Madel and former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson. A statement released by Madel and Magnuson asserted that they, with lawyer Jennifer Robbins, met with Kluwe and Halunen on Monday and scheduled a meeting between Kluwe, Halunen and the Vikings on Thursday. They never said the report would not be released, according to that statement.
The Vikings echoed that in a prepared statement posted on the team website.
“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.”
Kluwe said that the offensive comments made by Priefer included references to Kluwe’s agnostic beliefs. Kluwe said Priefer told him he would “burn in hell with the gays” and told him “Jesus is (his) only savior.” Those comments came only after Kluwe’s gay rights advocacy was made public, he said.
Kluwe said it is important to make sure the report is made public because harassment and discrimination in the workplace needs to be ferreted out and addressed.
“This is not just something that happens within the Vikings workplace environment,” Kluwe said. “This is something that happens in thousands of workplace environments.”