The one-year anniversary of punter Chris Kluwe's controversial release from the Minnesota Vikings is quickly approaching (May 6), but it will have no bearing on whether he decides to sue the franchise.
According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the deadline for Kluwe to file a suit has been extended beyond May 6, which means the one-year statute of limitations won't be a factor.
Although opinions surrounding Kluwe's release differ, he revealed in a Deadspin article back in January that he felt he was fired for off-field reasons rather than on-field performance.
Kluwe is an ardent supporter of gay rights, but he said that Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer regularly made bigoted comments against the gay community. Kluwe also revealed the Vikes attempted to prevent him from being vocal about gay rights.
Per Tomasson, Kluwe still intends to sue depending upon how the Vikings' internal investigation plays out.
It would obviously be wrongful termination. A direct supervisor made homophobic remarks repeatedly, and it was an atmosphere that was not conducive to a good working environment, and I ended up getting fired from the team despite the fact that my performance (in 2012) had been as good as the previous years.
Kluwe said his potential lawsuit would be for lost wages and emotional distress. If he does sue and win, however, he doesn't intend to keep the money.
"Every single penny I would donate to LGBT charities," Kluwe said. "It's not about me getting the money; it's about showing the NFL you can't do this."
According to Tomasson on Twitter, the potential lawsuit could be worth upward of $30 million:
Kluwe's possible lawsuit largely hinges on how the Vikings handle the situation moving forward, but the organization has been adamant to this point that Kluwe's release was football related.
Based on the fact Kluwe averaged 45 yards per punt and had a career-best 39.7-yard net average in 2012, though, it certainly seems as though there was more to the decision on the surface.
Punters are viewed by most as players who are seen and not often heard, but Kluwe has long been one of the NFL's most vocal players.
Although Kluwe is a hero to some, it is possible that he rubs others the wrong way. The Vikings may have been part of that latter camp, in which case Kluwe has a strong foundation for a lawsuit.
It is unfortunate that the entire Vikings organization may have to suffer for the actions of a handful of people, but it is difficult to blame Kluwe for wanting restitution.
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