9:30pm: I spoke with Kluwe’s lawyer, Clayton Halunen, over the phone about his client’s situation. He told me the Vikings have not contacted him since they have released their preliminary findings, and that the lawsuit is going to be filed early next week, likely on Wednesday. As to whether Priefer’s three-game suspension is acceptable, Halunen said, “It’s something — but not enough,” noting that the only way for the Vikings to ameliorate the situation is to release the full report and give the full $1MM to LGBT causes (essentially, meet Kluwe’s previously stated terms).
I asked Halunen if he advised his client to stay off social media while the lawsuit is in flux, and he said he told Kluwe to “tweet all day long,” as he feels that Twitter is a good avenue for Kluwe to tell his side of the story. Additionally, I wondered if Kluwe’s age, salary, declining performance (at least, according to Pro Football Focus), and the presence of rookie Jeff Locke would allow Halunen to accept that Kluwe’s release could have been performance-based. Halunen said that Kluwe’s numbers declined because he “took the directive of Preifer every time he punted,” employing kicking strategies that he did not agree with at the behest of his coach. Regarding Kluwe’s salary, Halunen says the punter “would have considered taking less money” if asked by the Vikings.
8:42pm: The Vikings have released a 29-page summary of their investigation (PDF provided by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune), which makes many of the same points as the statement released earlier by the team, including that Kluwe’s release was based on performance, not his views on same-sex issues.
7:50pm: Kluwe has now responded to the Vikings’ statement, per Tomasson (Twitter links), claiming that the report is full of “lies”: “It just shows that the Vikings clearly don’t want to get to the bottom of a culture that clearly protects homophobic behavior.”
Additionally, Kluwe’s attorney says that although he knows the report may be unflattering to Kluwe, he still wants it released, and still plans to sue. Regarding the supposed July 8 email in which he asked that the report not be published, Halunen claims that he only wanted certain footnotes with personal information to be redacted, per Ben Goessling of ESPN.com (Twitter links).
7:36pm: According to Pro Football Talk (via Twitter), Kluwe’s lawyer, in a July 8 email, asked that the report not be released.
Also, the Vikings have released a lengthy statement (not the ~150-page report), in which they find evidence that Priefer made inappropriate remarks, but deny that the team tried to quiet Kluwe’s views or that Kluwe’s release was tied to the situation. Priefer himself offers an apology within the statement:
I owe an apology to many people – the Wilf family, the Minnesota Vikings organization and fans, my family, the LGBT community, Chris Kluwe and anyone else that I offended with my insensitive remark. I regret what has occurred and what I said. I am extremely sorry but I will learn from this situation and will work on educating others to create more tolerance and respect.
7:27pm: Kluwe has responded to Priefer’s three-game suspension, per Tomasson (Twitter links): “I think that’s completely unacceptable…Are we going to know (in what is released by Vikings) what exactly are they suspending him for?”
Additionally, a source tells Pro Football Talk that information will surface in the report that Kluwe “made light of the Jerry Sandusky situation” by engaging in inappropriate activity (Twitter links). If true, this could hurt Kluwe’s case, as well as sully his image as someone who is sensitive to such issues.
7:14pm: Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe will file a lawsuit against the Vikings as early as Monday, reports Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Kluwe will claim that he was released from the Vikings due to his candid views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
We learned on Tuesday that Kluwe, who played for Minnesota from 2005-2012, would consider dropping the suit if the Vikings released the full findings of their investigation into the matter. Additionally, he asked that the team suspend special teams coach Mike Priefer, whom Kluwe claims made homophobic remarks, for four to eight games, and that $1MM be donated to LGBT causes.
However, Kluwe’s attorney, Clayton Halunen, asserts that the Vikings will only release a “scrubbed down” verison of their report and offered to donate just $100K to LGBT groups. As for Priefer, he will be suspended three games, apologize, and attend sensitivity training, according to Master Tesfatsion of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via Twitter). Tomasson specifies that Priefer’s sentence will be reduced to two games if he undergoes said training, and that while the coach “acknowledged” making incendiary remarks, he didn’t “flat out admit it” (Twitter links).
Per Tesfatsion, Kluwe will “claim discrimination on the grounds of human rights, religion, defamation and ‘tortious interference for contractual relations.'” The former special-teamer has stated that any money he is awarded will be given to charity, and his lawyer tells Tomasson that that amount could be significant. “We’ll go after everything he’d be entitled for his wrongful termination,’’ said Halunen. “Compensation for wages and benefits lost, emotional distress, damage to his reputation. It could be sizable. It could be over $10MM.’’
The Vikings will release a report of “decent length” tonight regarding the Kluwe ordeal, tweets Tesfatsion, although it isn’t clear if this refers to a summary of the original investigation’s findings, or simply a rebuttal to Kluwe.