Posted January 26, 2014

Chris Kluwe’s lawyer: Text messages corroborate allegations

NFL
Kluwe

Chris Kluwe punted for the Vikings for eight years before the team released him prior to the 2013 season. (Tom Dahlin/Getty)

The lawyer for former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said Saturday that he has text messages from witnesses that corroborate Kluwe’s claims that he was released because of his political views, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Kluwe’s lawyer, Clayton Halunen, identified kicker Blair Walsh as one of the witnesses, and said that Walsh sent texts corroborating Kluwe’s claims. On Jan. 2, Kluwe wrote a first-person account on Deadspin claiming the Vikings released him because of his outspoken views on marriage equality and that special teams coordinator Mike Preifer made offensive remarks repeatedly in his presence. Preifer denied making the comments, and the organization said Kluwe was released for football reasons.

After Kluwe’s article was published, the team released a statement saying the Vikings were unaware of Kluwe’s allegations prior to publication. Halunen said that is not true and that shortly before his release, Kluwe met with director of player personnel Les Pico to complain about Preifer’s behavior.

Vikings ownership released a statement to the Pioneer Press following Halunen’s allegations:

Vikings ownership was entirely unaware of Chris Kluwe’s allegations prior to the Deadspin article earlier this month. Immediately following the release of that story, we authorized our Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Warren to retain former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel to determine all of the facts in this case. That comprehensive investigation, which has already included interviews with nearly two dozen current and former Vikings employees, is ongoing and we cannot comment further.


124 comments
Capitolhillguy2
Capitolhillguy2

If there are over 50 team members on the Vikings roster, then statistically a non-insignificant number are at least bisexual if not outright gay. If that is the case, extremely homophobic statements like Pfeiffer made would create a hostile work environment. If he had used racial slurs, believe me hell would be raised. We need to get in this country to where rampant homophobia in the workplace is on par with racism as something that should not be tolerated. With the number of men in the NFL, I am certain that there are many closeted players who engage in same sex sexual activities in their private lives. It is because hostile working environments like this exist that none have felt comfortable to be themselves and come out of the closet. I believe this is a major motivator in Kluwe's actions as well as his explicit wish that Pfeiffer not be allowed to coach again.

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

Kluwe you were not released because you are gay.... it's your diminished skills in combination with your activism / loud mouth... There is a reason Chad and other loud mouth players are not in the league anymore..... I hate when others get in your face telling you how to live or what to do... they are more annoying than door to door salesmen or kids ringing your doorbell trying to get you to buy the 20th thing their school is shelling out... 

maybe Preifer was not tactful about the situation but it takes some Stones to sue him for bigotry... Kluwe you need to stand in line because there are a lot more out there deserving of bigotry claims than you.. and having a kicker verifing your story does not mean crap... he is a kicker you guys probably share the same toothbrush every morning... not that there is anything wrong with that....  not referring to the toothbrush sharing ..... that is gross,  i meant all the lead up to where two men felt the need to share a toothbrush... there is nothing wrong with that...   (O_o)

Kluwe stop hiding behind this gay activism and just admit you are gay and move on... Tim Duncan admitted he was gay... well at least his wife did,  confirming what others knew about him and no one treats Duncan any different .... Even Aaron Rodgers came out and said .... he "really, really likes women" ... well i like women as much as the next guy.... and never in my life did i say, i really really like women...  that tells me .... Aaron Rodgers is really really gay, and i am sure his teammates know that too, this also explains Why Rodgers was sticking behind Braun as long and as hard as he did.. pillow talk will make some people believe anything... its like those caught using roids deny, deny, deny.... ok i used... this situation is no different ...you are the only ones keeping it in the public eye..

stashu
stashu

How did I know Blair Walsh would end up in the middle of this? Well, because Blair. . . oh, never mind. It will all come out sooner or later.

Listening
Listening

This guy is either playing for the "other" team or wants to.  I have no problem with what anyone wants to believe in or how they want to live their lives but that does not mean they should have the right to push it in my face. 

ChadCollins
ChadCollins

If I was an employer and someone was gay or a huge supporter of what they do, there is NO WAY id hire the simply for this reason.  You HAVE TO agree with everything they do.  If you dont, we all know what happens

look@thebrightside
look@thebrightside

sounds like a whining, little...... oh wait, better not finish that sentence, i dont want kluwe trying to sue me !

fact is, if this clown could still kick the ball, then he wouldnt have to worry about his views, that by the way, have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with football !

Frank14
Frank14

now i'm an employer and am prevented from releasing someone because of 

their political views.  since when?

jackmtalbot
jackmtalbot

Kluwes was such a great punter that only one team (the Raiders) chose to pursue him after his release, and the Raiders ended up cutting him before the season started.  No other team had any interest.  It's pretty clear that Chris Kluweless was not exactly a hot commodity as a punter.

Matthew W
Matthew W

Show the texts!


Kluwe was earning a lot more than his drafted replacement and wasn't a top punter. The Vikings cutting him and replacing him with a cheaper replacement is just what the NFL does. Its a business.

fuggetaboutit909
fuggetaboutit909

this is the NFL.... people get released all the time for cap reasons alone.  kluwe has an uphill climb trying to proove this AND good luck finding a new team kluwe with your obvious litigiousness.....

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

@friendly

That's got to be one of the dumbest posts I've seen in a long time.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@friendly--neighborhood--scrawler  Even if he were gay, how would that affect whether or not Minnesota was right to dismiss him?  


Your post adds a nice dose of homophobia to the discussion without adding anything of value.


By the way, did you notice that you a) complain about how much you hate people telling others how to live their lives and b) tell Kluwe how he should live his life?  Irony isn't a strength, is it??

fuggetaboutit909
fuggetaboutit909

@stashu 


I smell an exposeeeeeeeeeeee`...... TMZ will be all over it cause they are 'listening' right now.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Listening  It's actually the First Amendment that gives him the right to push his views "in your face".   


I'm curious about your use of that phrase.  Did Kluwe come to your home and shout his views at you?  Is he repeatedly stalking you so that you cannot avoid hearing his opinion voiced on a daily basis?


If he is, I suggest calling the police.  Otherwise, he's not pushing anything in your face.  Just avoid reading his opinion pieces and quit whining.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@ChadCollins If your views are that closedminded, we should all be happy you're not an employer.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@look@thebrightside  In 2012 when Kluwe last kicked for Minnesota, he averaged 45 yards/punt.  The year before, 45.7.  Last year, Minnesota's new punter averaged 44.2 and finished 24th in the league.  


This is the "superior" player to whom Kluwe lost his job for football reasons???

ChadCollins
ChadCollins

@Frank14If they are gay or support gays, you HAVE TO agree with them.  If you dont, you are taken to court. 

AllThingsConsidered
AllThingsConsidered

@Frank14 Of course you can fire someone for his political views, and of course that person can sue you for it. Freedom goes both ways. 

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@jackmtalbot See my post above regarding his replacement.  Kluwe might not be an All-Pro, but Minnesota released him and replaced him with a demonstrably worse punter.  That makes it a difficult case to say it was a pure football decision.  


Then again, Minnesota's front office has not exactly shown signs of recent competence.  Picking an inferior player is pretty much what they do.

Mathonwy
Mathonwy

@fuggetaboutit909As he said in the Deadspin article, Kluwe recognizes that his playing days are over so no worries there (although if he wins I doubt if he'd ever have to work again). Filing a single lawsuit does not warrant being called litigious.

Listening
Listening

@Go_Niners!

It's actually the First Amendment that gives him the right to push his views "in your face".   


I guess then I do not have the same First Amendment rights.  If you counter all this it's basically committing a hate crime.  I'm so glad you are in San Fransisco. 

fuggetaboutit909
fuggetaboutit909

@Go_Niners! @Listening 


I am not saying it didn't happen only that it is a difficult thing to prove.....  I am not really sure what kluwe expects to get out of this except a "pay day" but he will be lucky to get the candy bar unless he has some other evidence.

look@thebrightside
look@thebrightside

@Go_Niners! @look@thebrightside how many teams are in the league ? 32 or whatever the number is. point being, if this motor mouth was soo good at his job, then why wasnt he picked up by another club ? please explain niners fan. 

JoshLewis
JoshLewis

When they're is a statistically insignificant difference between two players and one focuses on football while the other defines himself by his activism, regardless of the subject of the activism, the guy focused on football wins. Period. End of story.

TeddyBloomquist
TeddyBloomquist

@ChadCollins @Frank14 You don't HAVE TO agree with them, but you do HAVE TO make sure your workplace is an environment where everyone feels safe and people are treated with respect. 

JoshLewis
JoshLewis

You're a little confused on the concept of "demonstrably worse". Kluwe earned $700,000 more a year to net about 1 more yard per punt. In a salary cap league, with minimum pay determined by years of experience, young players regularly win jobs where the performance difference is INSIGNIFICANT and the pay difference is large.

This happens to 50, maybe 100 veterans every year. There is a valid and obvious reason why Kluwe lost his job and didn't find another one. The fact that his life focus was anything other than football makes the decision that much easier to make.

fuggetaboutit909
fuggetaboutit909

@Mathonwy @fuggetaboutit909 


so basically (if you are correct) this is a guy who is trying to get one more payday from a game that he believes past him by AND a game that would normally not pay him anything... right?


if he had a chance to be on another team then he would not have filed a suit..... which is why he did it now and not immediately after he was released.


kinda weakens his case to me.... dontya think?

alisterio
alisterio

"proove" made it past your spellcheck?

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Listening @Go_Niners!  Playing the "victim" card pretty hard there, Listening.   Feeling sorry for yourself today??


You can argue that gay's shouldn't be allowed to marry all you want without it being a crime.  But you can't fire someone for believing something differently than you do (if it has no connection to job performance), and you can't expect people who disagree not to criticize your opinion, because free speech works both ways.  


Or have you been charged with a hate crime for disagreeing with gay rights arguments?  I would LOVE to hear the specifics of your trial in that case,.  

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@JoshLewis And in the context of punting average, over a yard of difference is actually quite significant.  For example, it's about the difference btwn the 10th and 20th best punters in the league.  

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@JoshLewis  Kluwe's arguing for gay rights doesn't make him a worse football player.  Minnesota's new punter's lack of skill does.


Why should his opinions be grounds for dismissal?  I don't know what your politics are, but is your opinion at all colored by disagreement with Kluwe??

drbcool
drbcool

@ChadCollins You must be a Republican. That's the sort of oversimplified nonsense they campaign with.

Dshban11
Dshban11

@ChadCollins @TeddyBloomquist @Frank14 If it "happens constantly", can you provide one incidence of someone asking an employee to come in early, the employee suing because "oh my god it's because i'm gay, isn't it?", and then them losing their business. I'm genuinely curious.

ChadCollins
ChadCollins

@TeddyBloomquist@ChadCollins@Frank14Thats just it.  If you say "Bill I need you to come in at 8am tomorrow instead of 11am" its "Oh my God, its because Im gay isnt it".  Lawsuit filed, business lost.  Happens constantly. 

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@JoshLewis The difference between Kluwe and the league's top punters is about three yards.  In that context, one yard actually is a big deal - i.e. demonstrably worse.  


Your last sentence sounds an awful lot like firing someone because he had some outspoken political opinions.  You DO realize that would be illegal, right?

Tillman
Tillman

@Go_Niners! ...based on your rants on this forum, I was correct in my assumption.  


As I and others have stated, the turnover in the NFL because of performance and salary happen every season.   The exact same thing happened to the Vikings placekicker (Longwell) the season before...No allegations of discrimination or bigotry from Kluwe then.  


Kluwe's performance has diminished and the team replaced him with a younger and less expensive alternative.  Kluwe's ego will not let him accept this and he is using this as the reason instead.  

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Tillman @fuggetaboutit909  Gee, Tillman, thanks for assuming I would simply dismiss any opposing opinion.  Closedminded much?


I didn't check the salary differential.  That would make it a more reasonable football decision (my opinion of Minnesota's incompetent front office aside).  If that's all that happened, great, Kluwe's case shouldn't have legs.  But if there's evidence indicating that his opinions on social issues were a factor, then it's not quite that simple.

fuggetaboutit909
fuggetaboutit909

@Tillman @fuggetaboutit909 


I agree with you.... the fact that the vikes replaced him with an "less experienced" player who costs less is all I need to know and if he came close to matching kluwe's numbers then that is what we call the right move.     kluwe doesn't have many legs to stand on right now.

Tillman
Tillman

 @fuggetaboutit909 Locke's numbers in his first year is similar to Kluwe's last; 65 long, 44.2 ave, 23 within 20 for Locke to 59 long, 45 ave, 18 within 20


Locke is also paid about 1/3 of what Kluwe was to be paid and is a big part of why he was retained.