Lawyer says Kluwe lawsuit is coming Wednesday

If you missed the Friday night skirmish between the Vikings and former punter Chris Kluwe, you’re in luck.  Or perhaps not in luck.

The fight will continue during the current work week, with Kluwe filing a lawsuit in Minnesota state court.  Lawyer Clayton Halunen tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the suit will be filed in Hennepin County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

According to Halunen, Kluwe will seek damages for wrongful discharge and defamation of character.  Kluwe has said that all money awarded by a jury will be awarded to LGBT groups.  (That may or may not apply to Halunen’s fee — especially if he took the case on a 33-percent contingency.)

While the basis for a claim of defamation isn’t apparent at this point, the wrongful discharge claim will arise from allegations that the Vikings cut Kluwe because of his advocacy for gay rights.  A 29-page memo analyzing an independent investigation regarding Kluwe’s allegations concludes that he was fired at least in part for the distraction caused by his advocacy, a very fine line that, when coupled with the contents of hundreds of pages of raw materials generated by the investigation, could make it easier for Kluwe to prevail.

At a minimum, the hair-splitting defense to the decision to fire Kluwe opens the door for a Seinfeld-trial parade of evidence of all the distractions players and coaches have created over the years (Love Boat, anyone?) without being fired.

71 responses to “Lawyer says Kluwe lawsuit is coming Wednesday

  1. The smartest roster move Spielman ever made was cutting this dope. Apparently he realized that the Vikings could finish in last place with or without him.

  2. While I agree with Kluwe 100% on most things, he’s going to lose this suit. The Vikings can simply show how often players are cut for all sorts of reasons and demand specific proof from Kluwe that he was specifically cut because of his activism. The year prior to Kluwe getting cut, the Vikings cut Ryan Longwell and drafted a rookie kicker, who was younger and cheaper. Kluwe got cut because his team drafted a rookie punter, who was younger and cheaper.

    While I certainly think it’s possible he was cut in part due to his activism, the Vikings can simply point out that Longwell got cut without any activism whatsoever.

  3. Kluwe doesn’t have a prayer of winning this lawsuit. He’s angling for a settlement.

    So what if the Vikings cut Kluwe because of his advocacy for gay marriage and/or Ray Guy getting voted to the Hall of Fame? If that advocacy was distracting from his job performance, they had every right to do so. Go back and watch the Bucs-Vikings game from 2012, and tell me Kluwe didn’t cost his team that game.

    Even if that’s not the case, do me a favor. What other punters in 2013 earned at least $1.45 million? That, as much as any reason, is why Kluwe was let go; his replacement saved the Vikings $1 million.

  4. I stood behind Kluwe and Ayanbadejo when they were playing and standing up for equality, but they WERE both distractions to the team, particularly Kluwe. Chris Kluwe is a good guy, but hes taking this too far. If you put your thoughts out there and aren’t an elite player…i.e. Kluwe and Ayanbadejo, it is well within the teams right to kick you to the curb if they don’t want you around anymore.

    I’m not saying he’s “wrong,” but Chris Kluwe needs served a piece of humble pie and withdraw from all this. You were a decent kicker who is out of the spotlight now, bro.

  5. He will win something I’m sure. Right or not, I just don’t see the courts these days saying no to any of these kinds of frivolous charges, they seldom say no. Hope they give him ten bucks and tell him to go pound sand.

  6. Anyone should understand that when you’re deciding whether or not to keep a player, the distraction factor is one of many. If Kluwe were a great player at an important position with a reasonable contract, he could get away with just about anything. Every example of a player creating a distraction and not being cut that Kluwe throws out should be met with, “Yeah, but he was a good player.”

  7. “At a minimum, the hair-splitting defense to the decision to fire Kluwe opens the door for a Seinfeld-trial parade of evidence of all the distractions players and coaches have created over the years (Love Boat, anyone?) without being fired.”

    Throughout the league, teams are willing to put up with distractions IF his positives on the field outweigh his negatives off the field.

    The Vikings got rid of (arguably) the most talented WR of our generation, Randy Moss, because of his off the field distractions.

    Without Kluwe’s activism, does he hang on for another year? Maybe, maybe not. Ryan Longwell was released the year before because he was old, expensive, and not very good, and he had no off the field distractions. Kluwe was old, expensive, and not very good.

  8. Adrian Peterson is ready for some football, right after he gets off the stand. Unless somebody with the Vikings steps up on his behalf and slaps some money on the lawyer’s table and exclaims:

    “He’s out!”

  9. The difference between Kluwe’s distraction factor and the distraction created by a single incident is that Kluwe’s was ongoing, constantly drawing attention to himself for a variety of reasons. The Vikings clearly didn’t think he was focusing on his job so they were well within their rights to cut him. Exhibit A is the contract he signed that says the team can release him at any time for any reason.

  10. Defamation of character? Kluwe wanted the report released and now he wants to sue for what he did? 33 percent contingency? Not one cent better be awarded in this fake lawsuit……any normal human being can see how frivolous this whole scam Kluwe is trying to pull here is. Still waiting on Kluwe’s apology to the Penn State victims he offended. Cant throw stones from a glass house Kluwe. Claiming that money will be donated or not doesn’t make a frivolous lawsuit suddenly legit…….is the lawyer gonna donate his chunk too? Lawyer guy HAS to know its a losing cause….what a waste of time.

  11. The only thing the Vikings need to do to win this lawsuit is put Chris Kluwe on the stand, and start asking him questions. He is so arrogant, his responses will doom any chance he has with a jury.

  12. The fact that Zygi Wilf told Kluwe that he agreed with his activism and to keep it up is going to help the Vikings. If the top guy is on board with what Kluwe was doing, it would be hard to say that there was a culture of intolerance that contributed to his release.

  13. I support Chris Kluwe 100%! People shouldn’t lose their livelihoods by FREELY speaking their opinions. This isn’t North Korea!

  14. I agree it’s unlikely he wins, but I can also see why he feels it’s important to sue. The Vikings are being quite arrogant in this case, they could end up looking rather bad in the court of public opinion.

  15. If I was a Viking fan, I would be irritated that my team was getting dragged through this muck.

    But I am glad Kluwe has the guts to stick to his guns. This is against all employers that have bullied and intimidated employees for their own benefit.

    I support Kluwe.

  16. I missed that feeling of anticipation I use to feel as the NFL season approached. Now I am just filled with annoyance after a summer filled with crime, law suits and annoying 24/7 coverage of any little thing that generates controversy.

  17. justintuckrule is gonna be vewy upset if kluwe loses. Maybe he can be the head cheerleader on his behalf. Then bring up N. Korea again. What a buffoon.

  18. Kluwe had been a distraction for some years, and as long as he could punt at a level which his salary waranted it, he had a job. When his performance became borderline issues like being a “distraction,” not obeying his coaches on punting out of bounds at times instead of trying to show off with a 55 yard punt–which was returned for a touchdown (then he repeated the mistake in the same game,) and taking more interest in social and political issues as well as his garage band than in practicing at his craft….well let’s just say when your talent becomes borderline those things don’t make management’s decision all that tough.

  19. I hope they depose the Raiders too. He wasn’t there long enough to be a distraction.

  20. >sparty0n says:
    >Jul 21, 2014 2:23 PM
    >Every time Kluwe opens his mouth, I hear >Charlie Brown’s teacher talking.

    This made me LOL

  21. The fact that Kluwe made fun of coaches’ speeches after they left the room is going to be reason enough to justify releasing him. Why should an employer be expected to tolerate such insubordination?

  22. This is from the report summary:

    “Loeffler reported, however, that he did hear Priefer make a comment about “putting all the gays on an island and nuking it” while on the practice field at Winter Park. Loeffler said that Priefer made this statement after becoming frustrated that Loeffler and Kluwe were not focused on football during practice. Loeffler commented that he did not think that Priefer was serious when he made the “nuclear” comment and that he thought Priefer was just trying to stop Kluwe and Loeffler’s joking around. Furthermore, Loeffler said that both he and Kluwe laughed off Priefer’s comment at the time. Loeffler did not corroborate Kluwe’s claims regarding any other comments Priefer allegedly made.”

    This is a culture of intolerance? This is worse than cutting a hole in your pants to make fun of child rape? This case should be thrown out before it gets to court.

  23. Here’s why Kluwe will lose:

    1) He got cut because his production as punter was going downhill. The Vikings drafted a punter to replace him, and that was it.

    2) The Vikings and Priefer did the same thing the year before, replacing aging Ryan Longwell with Blair Walsh as kicker.

    3) Defamation? I have not heard the Vikings say anything negative about Kluwe, other than his lawsuit and allegations are unfounded.

  24. “[T]he hair-splitting defense to the decision to fire Kluwe”?

    I know PFT calls Kluwe a friend but that statement is a real stretch. Kluwe was scheduled to earn $1.4 million in 2013, but was coming off a year in which he ranked 22nd in gross average, 17th in net, and ranked 31st in punts downed inside the 20. The report also documents Kluwe’s below average hang time and inability to punt left. So there was a legitimate reason for cutting Kluwe–his below-average performance. No hairs were split.

    And by the way, Kluwe’s replacement had the same gross and net average (44 & 39 yards per attempt), downed more punts inside the 20, and did it all for $1 million less.

    Kluwe has no case.

  25. The Minnesota Vikings have added another feather in their cap. Kluwegate can be added to the other historic achievements that don this storied franchise. Love boat, Whizzinator, Starcaps, Daunte’s small hands, Favre/Chilly saga, future NFL hall of famer Christian Ponder, Wilf families top notch business ethics…now this. Stay classy!

  26. When Kluwe has to testify (and that will happen when he’s deposed), how will he explain his decision to wait a year, after he’d been cut twice, to “blow the whistle”? How will he explain the fact his only witness (Cullen Loefler) said that Kluwe laughed and treated Priefer’s comment as a joke? Will Kluwe stick to his story that his Sandusky prank was meant as a joke, but the jury should still throw the book at Priefer? And what about the underage girl Kluwe now says was (years ago) put in a compromising position by two Vikings players? Was that alleged incident not worthy of his time?

  27. Kluwe’s stats are still better than half the punters in the NFL. The Vikes essentially black-balled him for voicing an opinion.

    The league pooh poos wife beaters, gun toters, drunk drivers and other terrible crimes but heaven forbid an upstanding citizen like Kluwe brings attention by advocating for people who’s rights are being trampled….then bye bye.

    I HOPE Kluwe prevails and along the way he shows just how hypocritical these theiving owners (who you all love with undying loyalty for who knows why) are.

  28. justintuckrule says:
    Jul 21, 2014 2:26 PM

    I support Chris Kluwe 100%! People shouldn’t lose their livelihoods by FREELY speaking their opinions. This isn’t North Korea!
    Why do you keep saying he was fired for “FREELY” speaking his mind? He wasn’t. What is so hard to understand? If he could punt the ball over 15 yds it would sure help his case. Don’t get ur fascination with N. Korea either.

  29. FYI – I heard Kluwe on the radio the other morning, and he mentioned his attorney is doing this pro bono. So, any damages received will go to charity.

  30. What was his Punt Ave the year he was cut? If it was higher than the previous year, Vikings lose. If it was lower, Vikings win. Pretty simple.

  31. It’s difficult to win a wrongful termination case in an industry where the labor force has a legitimate expectation of continued employment. But in an industry where employees are regularly terminated, and where it is inevitable that each employer will terminate a substantial number of employees (i.e., at the end of training camp), and where competition for spots is encouraged and it is understood that underperformance means termination, good luck with that lawsuit, Mr. Kluwe. And I’d be willing to bet that his lawyer is billing him on an hourly basis. The publicity is nice, but no lawyer is going to take a case that involves this much time, unless it is a slam dunk case where you know management is going to write a check. And Zygi Wilf made his fortune by people paying him, not the other way around.

  32. [Tumblr intensifies]

    Seriously though, this guy doesn’t have a case. His downturn in performance, showboating, and off the field issues made it more than clear enough for the Vikings to drop him. How many guys have been shunned for less?

    Look at Tim Tebow, who took Denver to the playoffs. He’s persona non grata because the -media- made him an issue, not because of anything he’s done. You want to tell me there isn’t a single team that could get some use out of him somewhere? Hell, he’s better than all three of Houston’s QBs combined, and better than every starter in the AFC South that isn’t named “Andrew Luck”.

  33. justintuckrule says:
    Jul 21, 2014 2:26 PM

    I support Chris Kluwe 100%! People shouldn’t lose their livelihoods by FREELY speaking their opinions. This isn’t North Korea!


    No its not North Korea, because if it was he would’ve “dissapeared”. You can speak all you want on whatever you want, but you better be willing to take critisism. Kluwe has every right to speak his mind, but he’s two faced. On one side he’s an activist for gay/lebian rights, on th eother hand, he’s making fun of the Penn State Sandusky scandle. Sick

  34. would the Packers cut Rodgers or the Patriots cut Brady if they came out and openly supported all type of gay ideas? Hardly. this dude stinks and his mouth just made the decision easier.

  35. I cannot wait to see (Peter Pan) Kluwe get DESTROYED in the courtroom! This has NOTHING to do with advocating for gay rights OR wrongful termination…it’s ALL about exposure, future book deals, speaking engagements, and just plain feeding his IMMATURE psyche!

  36. My guess is the defamation suit would be against Priefer individually rather than against the Vikings and will focus on Priefer’s immediate and public denial of Kluwe’s allegation of the “nuke the gays” statement in the Deadspin article along with his continued denial(s?) in the investigative process. I.e., by publically denying Kluwe’s allegation that Priefer made the statement, Priefer was in effect calling Kluwe a liar, which is a defamatory statement.

  37. I’ll be so happy when this goes away, so much so that I’m well past the point of caring who “wins.”

  38. Making fun of the Sandusky scandal was his way of fitting into the alpha male lockerroom. It’s the same thing Jonathan Martin did with the 4,000 texts to Incognito. Both were just trying to fit in.

    Here’s what happened for all you people who live under rocks or live in the “no change ever for nothing b/c I’m a straight white male and it don’t bother me camp”.

    Kluwe wasn’t terminated because his punt average suffered. The Vikings pre-emptively struck him before the Metrodome turned into ground zero for LGBTA protests. When you’re fired because you speak out against sexual discrimination, this great nation gives you the ability to SUE to protect your RIGHTS.

    Good luck C.K.!

  39. Why is Ray Rice still out there stress-free. He needs to have some stress in his life asap.

  40. It’ll be nice when this is all over. Get over it, Chris, you were a sub-par punter and got cut because we got a cheaper younger and better player. The Raiders cut you too man…

  41. I support Chris Kluwe 100%! People shouldn’t lose their livelihoods by FREELY speaking their opinions. This isn’t North Korea!

    But Preifer should lose his job For his opinion?

  42. If I was a Viking fan, I would be irritated that my team was getting dragged through this muck.

    But I am glad Kluwe has the guts to stick to his guns. This is against all employers that have bullied and intimidated employees for their own benefit.

    I support Kluwe.

    NOBODY IS FORCED TO WORK ANYWHERE….you don’t like it. Leave.

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