Former punter alleges he was fired for gay activism and accuses assistant coach of homophobic rants
The Minnesota Vikings have hired two-profile attorney’s to lead their investigation into former punter Chris Kluwe’s explosive allegations this week about why he was fired and the anti-gay behavior of an assistant coach.
The team said Friday (3 January) that it has retained the services of former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and former US Department of Justice trial attorney Chris Madel.
Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf said in a statement: ‘It is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations.’
Vikings Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Warren called the issue ‘a highly sensitive matter’ that the organization ‘will address with integrity.’
‘We are confident they will move swiftly and fairly in completing this investigation,’ Warren stated.
The investigation has already begun and will include interviews with current and former members of the Vikings organization, the team said in a press release.
Kluwe had been with the team for eight seasons before being fired last May. He had become a high-profile advocate for marriage equality the previous fall often making national news for his columns, tweets and interviews.
He wrote in a Deadspin column this week that while he received support from Wilf, the same could not be said of head coach Leslie Frazier, general manager Rick Spielman and especially special teams coach Mike Priefer.
Wrote Kluwe: ‘It’s my belief, based on everything that happened over the course of 2012, that I was fired by Mike Priefer, a bigot who didn’t agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman, both of whom knew I was a good punter and would remain a good punter for the foreseeable future, as my numbers over my eight-year career had shown, but who lacked the fortitude to disagree with Mike Priefer on a touchy subject matter.’
Among the most explosive allegations against Preifer is the coach saying ‘on multiple occasions that I would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible.’
Kluwe also alleges Preifer said in a meeting that ‘we should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.’
Preifer has denied the allegations in a statement saying in part: ‘I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe. I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.’
Kluwe told USA Today on Friday that he stands by his allegations and welcomes the investigation into them.
‘I’m glad they’re taking it seriously,’ he said. ‘This is something I wrote down, because it’s what happened to me, and I’m 100 percent confident in what I wrote, and there are witnesses that will back me up.’
‘Let the investigation begin.’