Chris Kluwe has gotten a lot of attention for claiming, with varying degrees of specificity, that the Vikings fired him due to his outspoken support of gay rights rather than his performance on the field.
We figured it might just be another quickly forgotten chapter in the culture wars, but he just proved that he’s serious by “lawyering up” for a battle with his former employer, saying “I want the truth to come out from the investigation, not in litigation”. He’s referring to the Minnesota Vikings organization’s “independent investigation” into his claims.
Now, how worried should the team and the NFL be about this development?
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press writes that Kluwe’s former boss, special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer, “has ‘vehemently’ denied making homophobic comments”, but check out his official response to the story after the jump:
I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe.
I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.
The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way. As a coach, I have always created an accepting environment for my players, including Chris, and have looked to support them both on and off the field.
The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family. While my career focus is to be a great professional football coach, my number one priority has always been to be a protective husband and father to my wife and children.
I will continue to work hard for the Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf family and all of our loyal fans.
Notice he denied unspecified “allegations”, which we take to mean firing Kluwe for his views. He never explicitly denied saying the things Kluwe claims he said, the worst of which involved placing gay people on an island and “[nuking] it ’til it glows.”
So, yeah. First Amendment, et cetera, but this looks to be a big headache for the Vikings and the NFL at large.