Chris Kluwe, Vikings avoid lawsuit

ByBen Goessling ESPN logo
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS -- Calling his settlement with the Minnesota Vikings an opportunity "to do a lot of good for a lot of people," Chris Kluwe announced his fight with the team is over.

The Vikings and Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen announced Tuesday morning that they had reached a settlement to resolve the former punter's allegations of homophobic behavior by the team. It put the issue to rest 7½ months after Kluwe first published his allegations and avoids the prospect of a lengthy legal battle.

The Vikings had initially announced a $100,000 contribution to charities that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender causes, and they will make additional contributions to five LGBT-friendly charities over the next five years. The team will also enhance sensitivity training that is already required throughout the organization.

The parties did not announce the financial terms of the settlement, but Kluwe said he will not receive any money.

"Everyone knows the numbers we've been talking about. It's a substantial commitment to LGBT causes," said Halunen, who had initially asked for a $1 million charitable donation.

The Vikings announced a three-game suspension for special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer on July 19, the same day they released a 29-page summary of a six-month independent investigation they commissioned after Kluwe alleged he was subjected to multiple homophobic remarks by Priefer and released by the team in May 2013 because of his support for same-sex marriage.

Kluwe had sought to obtain the full report from the investigation after the Vikings released their summary and had threatened to sue to obtain it, but after he and Halunen had a chance to review the report, they decided to stop pushing for its release.

"That's a tough one, because I've said the entire time, 'I want the whole thing to be out there,'" Kluwe said. "It really comes down to the question of, 'Is it about me? Is it about what I want? Or is it about what we can do to push things forward and make things better for everyone else?'

"It really is one of those things where, yeah, we can drag this out for two or three years in a legal battle [and] everyone gets dragged through the mud. Do we really accomplish anything on the other side? Our main concern was seeing, 'Is there a systemic problem in the Vikings organization? Is there something they're covering up that we need to expose?' By being able to look at the report, we found there wasn't that systemic problem."

Kluwe has not played in the NFL since the Oakland Raiders cut him at the end of training camp last year.

"We appreciate Chris Kluwe's contributions to the Minnesota Vikings as a player and a member of this organization during his eight seasons in which he established many team records as our punter, and we wish him and his family the best in the future," Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement. "In regards to this matter, our focus remains on maintaining a culture of tolerance, inclusion and respect and creating the best workplace environment for our players, coaches and staff."

Kluwe said he plans to write another book after his first novel was published last year. He is able to keep talking about his experiences with the Vikings but is not allowed to publicly discuss the allegations he initially raised in his Deadspin piece in January.

The punter wished the Vikings well, saying "hopefully we can all move on with our lives now.

"I think they're committed to being leaders on this issue in the NFL," Kluwe added. "I know the Wilfs are invested in this. ... I know they have a new stadium being built here that will ideally have the Super Bowl [in 2018] where the team will be playing. Best of luck to them."

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