Kluwe: Vikings Won't Release Investigation Data on Team Homophobia
BY Michelle Garcia
July 15 2014 12:19 PM ET UPDATED: July 15 2014 2:28 PM ET
The Minnesota Vikings will not release the details of an internal investigation as to whether the team cut punter Chris Kluwe because of his work in LGBT advocacy.
The team informed him that they would not provide a copy of the report to Kluwe or the public on Monday, according to NBC News. Kluwe and his attorney will hold a news conference Tuesday to respond to the Vikings' sealed report.
Following eight seasons with the team, Kluwe was cut in May 2013, after he railed against Minnesota's marriage ban, worked with Minnesotans for Marriage Equality, and co-authored a Supreme Court brief regarding Proposition 8. Meanwhile team leaders like special teams coach Mike Priefer reportedly said things like, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” during a meeting, according to Think Progress.
Kluwe has strongly held that he was cut because of his activism, and has said he would sue the Vikings if necessary. In January, he said it would not be possible for an investigation to clear the team of any charges of homophobia, or bias. Kluwe also said that he was essentially blacklisted from professional football, even after trying out for other teams, due to his outspokenness on LGBT rights.
Priefer has denied such allegations, and other members of the Vikings have defended the coach, however Kluwe says he has witnesses to the bad behavior. The Vikings hired former Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney Chris Madel to lead an internal investigation into Kluwe's charges. Both are partners at the law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller, and Ciresi.
"I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe," Priefer said in a statement in January. "I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member."
In a letter to Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, Minnesota state senator D. Scott Dibble urged the team to release the information gathered from the investigation.
"Given the sizable amount of taxpayer funds provided to the Vikings for the construction of your new stadium, it is crucial that your organization be held to the highest standards of tolerance and inclusion," Dibble wrote in the letter obtained by The Advocate. "I received assurances in person from several leaders in the Vikings organization that this value is shared by you and your top management team. It was promised to me that a free, fair, and open investigation would be carried out."
Dibble advised Wilf to release the results of the investigation, take "decisive action…against those responsible," and said he expected "strong steps be taken to implement internal cultural and policy changes, should his claims be found credible."