Kluwe, Vikings reach settlement to avert lawsuit
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said Tuesday he reached a settlement with the team to avert a threatened lawsuit over his release, saying the club had agreed to donate to several groups that support gay rights.
Kluwe had accused the Vikings of cutting him in 2013 over his outspoken support for gay marriage. Financial details of the settlement weren’t immediately released, but Kluwe said he would get no money.
“As Chris always stated, this is not about money but about changing the culture of professional sports that tolerates homophobia at any level,” Clayton Halunen, his attorney, said in a news release. “For Chris, this agreement with the Vikings is a big step forward in that direction.”
The Vikings confirmed the settlement in a statement posted on the team’s website, but didn’t disclose the financial details.
Kluwe had also alleged that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made anti-gay comments and tried to agitate him with homophobic language. In July, the Vikings issued a 29-page summary of a report that found no merit to Kluwe’s claim that he was wrongfully dismissed, but it did confirm that Priefer made anti-gay remarks during practice. The Vikings suspended Priefer for three games and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.
Kluwe continued to threaten to sue the team if it didn’t release the full 150-page report. But Halunen said Tuesday the Vikings had done a thorough investigation into Kluwe’s allegation and made public “enough parts of that investigation to corroborate Chris’s story.”
Halunen said the Vikings have agreed to donate to several LGBT-related nonprofits, including the Matthew Shepard Foundation and a charity run by openly gay retired NFL player Wade Davis.
“As one of the most respected sports franchises in the country, the Vikings have committed to continue to positively impact how homophobia is dealt with in professional sports,” Halunen said.
Kluwe played eight seasons in Minnesota and hasn’t gotten a kicking job elsewhere since his release.