Former Punter Chris Kluwe Hires His Own Legal Defense for Vikings’ Internal Investigation

Chris KluweFormer Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who says the team released him because of his gay-rights activism, has retained legal counsel.

Kluwe wrote a piece for Deadspin last week claiming that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made homophobic comments during the 2012 season. Kluwe also believes that his stance on gay marriage is what led to his release from the team, and he called former head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman “cowards” for attempting to silence him.

The Vikings have responded by announcing that they will conduct an internal investigation, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Kluwe has retained Minneapolis attorney Clayton Halunen to represent him during the matter, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The Vikings have stated that Kluwe’s release from the team was due to football reasons, while Priefer “vehemently” denied  the allegations.

In a statement released Monday, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Halunen said Kluwe is not bitter about what transpired with the Vikings, but he feels compelled to speak on what he endured.

“Chris Kluwe stands up for what he believes is right, even if it costs him personally to do so,” Halunen said in the statement. “It’s obvious to me, as it should be to most thinking people familiar with the situation, that Chris paid a steep price for speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage rights in 2012 while he was a Vikings player. Ultimately it may have cost him both his job with the Vikings and his career as an NFL player, along with much emotional anguish over what he believed to be a kind of personal attack on him for his views on a vital issue of human rights.

“Even so, Chris is not bitter towards the Vikings, nor does he carry a personal vendetta against anyone associated with the team. He is grateful to the Vikings for the great career he had with the team. But he couldn’t stand by when someone with as much influence in sports as a member of the Vikings coaching staff makes dangerous and dehumanizing statements against the LGBT community.”

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