Things in the rift between the Minnesota Vikings and former punter Chris Kluwe got significantly deeper just minutes ago, when Kluwe announced that he would be filing a lawsuit against the team.
The lawsuit stems from the team's refusal. . .allegedly. . .to disclose the results of the investigation that was conducted into the actions of special teams coach Mike Priefer (among others). Priefer is alleged to have made homophobic comments that Kluwe, a strong advocate for LGBT rights, took offense to. In a Deadspin article in January, Kluwe also accused former head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman of covering up that conduct.
"It's transparently obvious to me that the Vikings are covering up the truth," said Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen. "We have no choice but to litigate at this point. Kluwe willingly cooperated with the Vikings' investigation - all he ever wanted was for the truth to come out.
"It's outrageous to me that the Vikings would choose to hide the facts of the investigation from me and from their fans," Kluwe said.
Now, unless I've missed something here, I don't think the Vikings have ever actually said that they weren't going to release the findings of the investigation. And, frankly, for them not to release the results would be foolish. Although word surfaced late last week that the report would be emerging "soon" and that it was favorable to Kluwe, nobody actually knows what the investigation uncovered yet, save those individuals that actually conducted the investigation. As of right now. . .10:55 AM Central Time on Tuesday, 15 July, 2013. . .nobody really knows what, if anything, is being held back by anybody.
The Vikings have just released a statement of their own. Here it is, in its entirety.
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 in employment matters - 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.
Short version: "We'll release the results of the investigation when we're damn good and ready, and we've never said otherwise."
So, those are the latest developments in this (seemingly) never-ending saga. Isn't this fun, everybody?