The lawyer for former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe on Thursday condemned an investigation into alleged anti-gay remarks by special teams coordinator Mike Priefer as a "charade" and pledged to sue the team. "My one word description is 'outrageous,' " attorney Clayton Halunen said after the Vikings announced Priefer would be retained as part of new head coach Mike Zimmer's staff. "It's almost unimaginable that there's a pending investigation regarding whether or not this guy engaged in homophobic, hate-filled behavior and without even a conclusion in the findings they've retained this person as a coach, as a leader." Kluwe has accused Priefer of making homophobic remarks during the 2012 season and contends his release last May was related to his activism for same-sex marriage. Priefer, one of seven holdovers from the previous staff of fired head coach Leslie Frazier, has denied Kluwe's accusations. The Vikings began investigating the allegations after they appeared Jan. 2 in an article Kluwe wrote for the website Deadspin.com. "It's unbelievable to us," Halunen said of the decision to keep Priefer on the coaching staff. "It shows that the Vikings are not sincere about this supposed investigation, that it's a mere charade, and at the end of the day they're going to cover up this. "It's just a matter of when we begin litigation. That's the only question in my mind now. Do we immediately file suit or do we wait and see if we get the confirmation we get from their supposed investigation?" Vikings spokesman Bob Hagan said there would be no comment on Priefer because he is involved in an ongoing investigation. Chris Madel, who is leading the investigation with Eric Magnuson, said the goal is to have it completed by the end of March. In a text message Thursday, Kluwe said he will not comment until after the investigation ends. Halunen said Magnuson and Madel had led him to believe the Vikings would wait until after the investigation to decide whether to retain Priefer. "Obviously, that has not become true," he said. "They (already) have a decision after they had apprised us, all along, that they would share with us their findings before they made a decision." But Madel said he had told Halunen that the investigation was ongoing, "and when it is done, we're going to make a series of recommendations on what we believe should be done as a result." A source close to the situation said Thursday's announcement of Zimmer's staff does not necessarily mean Priefer will be with the team in 2014. The source said Priefer already was under contract for next season and that the team could re-evaluate his situation after the investigation is completed. Kluwe alleged in his Deadspin article that the Vikings released him because of his support for same-sex marriage. The Vikings claim he was let go for football reasons only. Halunen has said kicker Blair Walsh and long-snapper Cullen Loeffler witnessed Priefer's alleged anti-gay remarks and there are text messages that indicate Walsh knew of them. Halunen also said Kluwe complained about Priefer to director of player development Les Pico shortly before he was released. A source said investigators interviewed Pico this week. On Thursday, Halunen said Priefer also directed remarks at Kluwe during the 2012 season regarding his atheism and said that would be part of the former player's lawsuit. "We have a number of claims,'' Halunen said. "We have claims under the Minnesota human rights act regarding religious discrimination because Priefer made a number of comments on my client's lack of beliefs in God and Jesus in respect to his support of the marriage amendment and gays and lesbians." Kluwe was a vocal critic of an amendment defeated in 2012 that would have constitutionally banned same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
Lawyer of former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe threatening legal action
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Feb 8