Kluwe says Vikings reneged on vow to release report about alleged organizational homophobia [UPDATES]
The Vikings promised an investigation, but Kluwe says the organization won't disclose what it discovered.
-- Updates at bottom --
Early this year, Chris Kluwe went nuclear on his former employer in a first-person account of his last season with the team published on Deadspin. In one particularly memorable passage, Kluwe alleges that during a fall 2012 meeting, Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."
Kluwe's piece prompted the Vikings to launch an internal investigation. But now, Kluwe says the organization is reneging on its promise to make the results of the investigation public.
Is Kluwe telling the truth about Coach Mike Priefer's alleged "nuke the gays" comment?
This morning, Kluwe announced that he and his legal team will be holding a news conference in the IDS Center at 11 a.m. today "to discuss possible course of action in light of Vikings' stonewalling."
A press release announcing the news conference says that yesterday, "[T]the Vikings informed Kluwe's attorney that they would not provide a copy of the report to either Kluwe or the public."
The release also provides this background about the situation:
In January 2014, the Vikings hired two highly respected Minnesota legal figures to conduct an independent investigation into Kluwe's allegations that a coach - and the team itself - used homophobic slurs and taunts in an effort to quash his public support for gay marriage rights. Kluwe alleged in a January Deadspin article that he was fired by the Vikings for being an outspoken gay rights advocate - and that a coach, Mike Priefer, had openly and privately made homophobic comments and slurs intended to intimidate Kluwe. The Vikings promised to make a full report of the investigation available to Kluwe and his attorney. Now, more than six months later, the investigators have handed over their report to the Vikings - and the Vikings refuse to give Kluwe a copy of the report.
Here's some of the notable Twitter reaction to Kluwe's news conference announcement:
Well, the @ChrisWarcraft news conference at 11 today in Minneapolis appears well-timed. All the national media here for ASG-- RandBall (@RandBall) July 15, 2014
@dbrauer also not uncommon for independent investigative report to be released publicly-- Adam Miller (@ajm6792) July 15, 2014
A Vikings spokesman didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment. We'll update this post if there's anything newsworthy to come out of this morning's newser.
:::: UPDATE ::::
KSTP, citing an unnamed source "close to the investigation," reports that the Vikings have reconsidered releasing a report about the organization's investigation into Kluwe's claims because it's "damaging and embarrassing."
"The same source says the Vikings have already made changes in their organization and are approaching this very seriously and are taking responsible action to 'correct any homophobic culture that exists within the organization,'" KSTP reports.
:::: UPDATE II ::::
During the news conference, Kluwe and his attorney announced they plan to sue the Vikings for wrongful termination. Here are tweets from the newser:
Kluwe's rep: "We know it's been corroborated that Priefer made the 'nuke the gays' statement." Claiming report damns Priefer, Spielman-- Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) July 15, 2014
Kluwe, attorneys filing a lawsuit to make report public, which they claim #Vikings won't do.-- Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) July 15, 2014
Kluwe would reconsider lawsuit if Vikings release report. "That's the whole point," Kluwe said-- RandBall (@RandBall) July 15, 2014
Kluwe will sue for religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, defamation and tortuous interference.-- Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 15, 2014
Kluwe wearing sport coat over a "punters are people too" t-shirt-- RandBall (@RandBall) July 15, 2014
There were settlement talks, Kluwe's attorney said, in which he would've gotten $1M from #Vikings and donated to LGBT causes.-- Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 15, 2014
Just as the news conference was about to begin, the Vikings released a statement denying the organization has broken any promises to Kluwe. Click to page two to read it in full.
Here's the Vikings' statement:
Since Chris Kluwe's allegations first appeared in Deadspin on January 2, 2014, the Minnesota Vikings have taken them very seriously, which is why the team immediately retained former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel, two partners of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P. (RKMC), to perform an independent review of these allegations. Magnuson and Madel were asked to thoroughly and comprehensively investigate three particular allegations by Kluwe and Kluwe's counsel:
1) Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer made offensive and insensitive remarks in Kluwe's presence.
2) Representatives of the Vikings had knowledge of these comments prior to the Deadspin article publication on January 2, 2014.
3) Kluwe's activism was the reason for his release from the Vikings on May 6, 2013. Magnuson, Madel and others spent nearly six months conducting an exhaustive investigation. After the Vikings were given the investigative materials from Magnuson and Madel, in order to further maintain objectivity and integrity, the team engaged a nationally-prominent law firm - Littler Mendelson P.C. - to evaluate employment law matters and provide findings and recommendations to the Vikings. Those recommendations are to be provided to the team this week.
As Magnuson and Madel confirmed today, 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. This Thursday, July 17, the team has a meeting scheduled between Halunen and Vikings attorneys to discuss next steps
As we have consistently communicated throughout this process, the Vikings will have further comment when the investigation is entirely complete and the team has made determinations on next steps.
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.