Chris Tomassen has really carried the water in the Chris Kluwe wrongful termination investigation, and he's now reporting that the investigation can't be wrapped up due to what is deemed an uncooperative witness.
It was not reported who the uncooperative witness is, but Kluwe lawyer Clayton Halunen didn't seemed overly concerned with the time it has taken to conduct the investigation, at least up until this point:
These things take long," Halunen said. "At the beginning, I said it wouldn't surprise me if this takes six months. It's taken about six months. There were a lot of people to interview, a lot of schedules to coordinate. A lot of thought went into this.
Fair enough. Something like this is a cumbersome ship to navigate, and I doubt there is any foot dragging from the Kluwe camp. And it sounds like as soon as they can get this last witness is, everything will be done in as little as two weeks.
But there are three quotes in the latest Tomassen article that made me scratch my head, and wonder aloud about something.
Now, let me be clear here: if Chris Kluwe was wrongfully terminated because of his stance on an issue that didn't affect his on the field performance, the Vikings and everyone involved in the decision to release him, should be punished. But there are things that I read in the Tomassen article that makes me think that keeping this issue in the public eye is just as important as getting to the truth.
Here's what I mean. In the article, there are a few things that seem to contradict one another. First, there's this, from Halunen:
"But I've always believed that justice will be served and the truth will come out, and we're expecting it will be favorable."
This is something I would fully expect every attorney who has ever represented a client to say. So far, so good. Everyone wants justice to be served, and the truth, as they say, shall set you free.
Quote the second:
If the investigation doesn't turn out as Kluwe hopes, he has vowed to file a lawsuit seeking lost wages and punitive damages and has said he would donate any money received to LGBT causes.
Still very reasonable, and something Kluwe said not too long after the independent investigation was announced. He was worried about the Vikings somehow 'rigging' the investigation in their favor, and didn't want to see that happen. And the Kluwe team was irate when it was announced Mike Priefer was going to stay on with Mike Zimmer and his new staff. So he had reason to worry that the Vikings primary motive back in February was to try and sweep this under the rug and hope it would go away.
One of the great things about American jurisprudence is being able to redress your grievances in the court system if you feel you were wronged or screwed over, which is the great equalizer.
Quote the third:
Kluwe initially had one year from his May 6, 2013, release to file such a suit, but the Vikings recently entered into a statute of limitations tolling agreement, meaning a suit still could be filed if Kluwe doesn't like the outcome.
"I think the investigators are invested in finding the truth," Kluwe said. "We're hopeful that this will turn out the right way and no lawsuits are filed and we can just go on with our lives." [ed note: emphasis added]
Maybe I missed this until now...but this sounds, in a lot of ways, like veiled extortion, played through the lens of public relations, veiled behind the law.
In the same sentence Kluwe says he thinks the investigators are trying to get to the truth, yet at the same time he vows to sue the Vikings if the said investigation discovers a truth he doesn't agree with.
Maybe Mike Priefer said all those things Kluwe alleges, maybe he didn't. If he did, it was wrong. Let him accept whatever punishment is deemed necessary, and we can all move on.
But would it be just as wrong to extort the team for a settlement through extended and embarrassing litigation, which if the investigation ultimately finds in the Vikings favor, might be considered frivolous and unwarranted?
You be the judge.