Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 19
We appreciate Chris Kluwe’s contributions to the Minnesota Vikings as a player and a member of this organization during his eight seasons in which he established many team records as our punter, and we wish him and his family the best in the future. In regards to this matter, our focus remains on maintaining a culture of tolerance, inclusion and respect, and creating the best workplace environment for our players, coaches and staff.
Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf added: "As a family we have long-supported equal rights causes, including marriage equality. We are glad a resolution of this matter has been reached, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to create positive awareness of these issues."
And Kluwe said: "I'm pleased that the issue has been resolved. I intend to continue to speak out on behalf of marriage equality, and I am pleased to be a part of the impact the Vikings material charitable contributions will have on LGBT and related causes."
Kluwe also commented on his Twitter account following the announcement:
I believe the Vikings are committed to being leaders on the subject of homophobia in sports, and will work to make significant change.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) August 19, 2014
Also, I get exactly ZERO dollars from this settlement, so if you sent me a nasty message over the past months, go mainline bleach.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) August 19, 2014
And no, you don't get to say "Well you were shamed into it." That's been my stance from day one. This has never been about money.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) August 19, 2014
Looking forward to seeing the strides the Vikings and the rest of the NFL will make on homophobia going forward. Still work to be done.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) August 19, 2014
And no, the report won't be made public. Our worry there was that there were systemic problems being covered up, but there weren't.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) August 19, 2014
The team also included some of the terms of the settlement:
As part of the resolution, the Vikings will provide continued financial support for human rights and anti-hate causes, resulting in a substantial and material benefit in the fight against gender preference discrimination. The team will also continue to enhance its sensitivity training policy and will further embody in the Club Code of Conduct and Employee Handbook a Zero Tolerance Policy for any discrimination and harassment because of race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation. Finally, the Vikings will work to build awareness and understanding of LGBT issues in professional football and in sports generally.
The Minnesota Vikings and Chris Kluwe may not be going to court after all. According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the two sides have reached a settlement.
Kluwe confirms an agreement has been made:
We've reached an agreement with the Vikings to help a lot of people going forward. More details will be forthcoming next week.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) August 16, 2014
Dawn Mitchell of Fox 9 in Minneapolis noted that Kluwe's attorney, Clayton Halunen, and the Vikings have agreed to terms for the settlement and will make an announcement next week:
ESPN.com's Ben Goessling reported that an official agreement has yet to be reached but should be soon:
So Halunen is saying sides have agreed; another source saying nothing finalized. I'd assume we're close to this being over, though.— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) August 15, 2014
Nothing is in writing on a Kluwe settlement yet, per #Vikings executive VP of legal affairs Kevin Warren.— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) August 15, 2014
Again, though, I do expect we're close on a settlement.— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) August 15, 2014
Halunen confirmed to USA Today that the settlement would mean the end of the former punter's proposed lawsuit against the team. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press in St. Paul believes this decision would benefit everyone:
Lawsuit being averted in Kluwe case is best for everyone.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 15, 2014
Minnesota suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for three games after an independent investigation commissioned by the team determined the coach made a homophobic comment to Kluwe. The suspension could be reduced to two games.
The investigators couldn't corroborate Kluwe's claims that Priefer made multiple homophobic statements or that the punter's activism led in part to his release from the team in 2013. They concluded the veteran was cut simply for financial reasons.
Kluwe remained unsatisfied after the suspension, and Halunen said an impending lawsuit remained on the horizon for the Vikings.
A likely settlement between Kluwe and Minnesota would appear to signal the end of this entire saga. The 32-year-old's possible legal action was the last domino to fall.
With that door closed, both the team and player are putting all of this in the past.