Is Kluwe telling the truth about Coach Mike Priefer's alleged "nuke the gays" comment?
Questioned by Leber (left), Kluwe wouldn't name names about who heard Priefer's anti-gay comment, citing concerns for his former teammates' careers.
:::: UPDATE :::: Vikings officials announced this afternoon that they've retained former Chief Justice of Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel to investigate Kluwe's accusations.
:::: UPDATE II, January 6 ::::
Kluwe has also lawyered up:
Chris Kluwe has retained local attorney Clayton Halunen to represent him during Vikings investigation into Mike Priefer's comments.
-- chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) January 6, 2014
(Original post) In his Deadspin expose about losing his job with the Vikings, Chris Kluwe alleges that special teams Coach Mike Priefer made the following statement during a team meeting: "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."
Kluwe doesn't provide specifics about the circumstances of that fateful meeting, but on the radio this morning, former Vikings linebacker and current KFAN host Ben Leber said he believes the shockingly homophobic statement must've occurred, if it happened at all, during a "a specialists meeting."
That meeting would've been attended by Priefer, Kluwe, kicker Blair Walsh, and long snapper Cullen Loeffler, Leber said. But yesterday, Walsh released a statement where he blasts Kluwe and backs Priefer 100 percent.
"The allegations made today are reprehensible and totally not compatible with what Mike Priefer stands for," Walsh writes. "I have had countless conversations and interactions with Coach Priefer, and I personally can attest to his integrity and character. His professionalism in the workplace is exemplary, and I firmly believe that my teammates would whole-heartedly agree."
But under cross-examination by Leber this morning, Kluwe said his former teammates in the meeting with him that day will have his back if names have to be named.
"If it comes down to it, we'll do what we have to do," Kluwe said, alluding to the possibility Priefer could sue him for defamation of character.
If Leber's analysis is correct about the circumstances of the meeting and Kluwe is telling the truth, then we're left to assume that Cullen Loeffler is the teammate Kluwe believes will confirm his account of Priefer's statement. We've reached out to Cullen for comment and will keep you posted.
On KFAN, meanwhile, Leber and Kluwe engaged in a highly entertaining verbal sparring match, with Leber at one point chastising Kluwe for not trying to engage Priefer in a "man to man" conversation about their locker room tension.
Leber also criticized Kluwe for using profanity and crass language in his writings about marriage equality while he was still employed by the Vikings.
"The approach can come off not befitting of the shield and the team and stuff like that," Leber said, referring to the NFL logo.
But Kluwe, as he's wont to do, didn't back down and said what he wrote is the truth.
"It's perfectly fair to draw your own conclusions," Kluwe told Leber. "If you think that I'm being bitter and that these are sour grapes and that I'm out to ruin Mike Priefer's career, that's fine. Thats your right to think that, I can't or wont change your mind. But the thing is, is that when I write this stuff down, it's because this is what happened to me."
To hear the audio of Leber and Kluwe going at it, click to page two.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.