Shortly after Chris Kluwe indicated on Twitter that he and his lawyer, Clay Halunen, intended to pursue a lawsuit in court come Monday, the Vikings responded full force. First, the Vikings have released a conclusion of the report at kluweinvestigation.com, which you can download here.

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UPDATE: It’s extremely important to note that that report is not written by Chris Madel or any of the other investigators at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP. In January, the Vikings hired RKMC and Chris Madel to conduct an independent investigation. Some time in the past week, they hired Littler Mendelson to handle the legal matters surrounding the release of this report and potentially any lawsuits the Vikings would be subject to. Littler Mendelson (specifically, it seems, Donald S. Prophete of Littler Mendelson) wrote the memo, which is drawn upon the report.

Again, Littler Mendelson is being paid to protect the Vikings, which means the 29-page document everyone is working off of is written in a particular way to make the Vikings look as good as possible, which means there is a very good chance of deliberate selectiveness in choosing what facts to report from the investigation. They are also free to insert their own facts at will.

If you’re reading the report, take care to note which conclusions or arguments are preceded by attribution to the investigation (usually referred to “RKMC” or the “Investigators”) and which arguments or conclusions are presented as facts without attribution to who discovered them. Generally, if a player was “interviewed to have said” or “reported that,” it is also a reference to the investigation.

For example, it is curious that the report did not seemingly investigate Kluwe’s claims of altered performance grades, religious discrimination or what Rick Spielman did upon learning from Les Pico that Mike Priefer made non-specific “derogatory remarks”. It would also explain the inclusion of weirdly irrelevant data (like some of the specious use of punting statistics and the section about how much Wilf support the LGBT rights movement).

Though the Vikings have been very forward about taking shots at Kluwe for litigating in the press, the fact that they’re producing a scrubbed memo that is as favorable as possible to them but also excoriates Kluwe means they are now “guilty” of the same thing, but that doesn’t mean the Vikings are any more in the wrong. Simply that in attempting to control the message, they are trying to make sure—just like Kluwe—that they have a better media presence (and that Kluwe has a worse one) than otherwise would have happened.

In the comments below, commenter XLevity points out that deliberate misrepresentation of the findings would violate the American Bar Association’s code of ethics, which is true. That is also largely irrelevant, because a summary of the findings written by Littler Mendelson designed to protect the Vikings does not have to violate the ABA’s code of ethics in order to be misleading; there is a difference between selectively providing relevant information in order to construct a one-sided case and deliberately misrepresenting the investigation’s findings.

Nowhere in the document should you suspect Littler Mendelson of lying, but it is still important to keep track of what is attributed to the investigation and what facts are proffered at will—a conversation Spielman had with his wife, for instance, may be in the report and in the memo Littler Mendelson wrote, but the report may have dismissed the importance of that conversation, while the memo may not have mentioned how important that conversation was to their findings.

The post below has been changed to reflect that this is not the investigation by RKMC, but a memo written by lawyers representing the Vikings.

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The memo, which has been sanitized by the Vikings according to Kluwe, contains a number of findings that are not favorable to Kluwe, other than the claim that Priefer made the alleged comment. There’s a 150-page executive summary of the report that has not been released.

In the memo, it’s reported that Madel and other investigators found that Priefer did in fact make the statements Kluwe alleges him to have made, but there are conflicting reports about how it was taken—Loeffler reportedly claims that the statement was “laughed off” at the time. Regardless, a statement by itself like this may not be enough grounds for a lawsuit of any sort. The rest of the memo as the Vikings have released it is not necessarily friendly to Kluwe. As a result, Priefer released the following apology:

I owe an apology to many people – the Wilf family, the Minnesota Vikings organization and fans, my family, the LGBT community, Chris Kluwe and anyone else that I offended with my insensitive remark. I regret what has occurred and what I said. I am extremely sorry but I will learn from this situation and will work on educating others to create more tolerance and respect.  – Mike Priefer

Mike Priefer will be suspended three games, but upon completion of appropriate sensitivity training can have that reduced by one (so he can reduce his suspension to a minimum of two games).

UPDATE: Adam Schefter reports that, in addition to his three-game suspension, Priefer will be fined.

 

Other Claims, Claim by Claim

1) For the claim that the Vikings released Kluwe for his activism or his views:

The memo quotes the report to have found that concerns were cropping up about Kluwe’s performances from the beginning of 2011. Specifically, Priefer had been asked in press conferences whether or not he felt Kluwe had been “up and down” in press conferences, while he also submitted reviews of his performance that were disfavorable, and had been for some time.

The issues identified, from a performance perspective were: too many line drive punts (not forcing fair catches—hang time) and inconsistency when punting outdoors.

Assistant manager George Paton confirmed these assessments, arguing that Kluwe’s leg was “not strong enough” and that Kluwe was “neither a great directional punter nor good at placing the ball inside the 20-yard line.” Head coach Leslie Frazier agreed with that assessment, while assistant special teams coach noted that Kluwe could “only kick right.” Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski tacked on to that assessment, also agreeing that Kluwe was poor at directional punting.

General manager Rick Spielman indicated that the special teams coaches “pretty unanimousl[ly]” agreed that Kluwe should be released from the team. Professional scouts Jeff Robinson and Scott Kuhn had some different opinions. Robinson said he liked Kluwe more than the other scouts, but that he acknowledged a poor 2012. Kuhn said the consensus was that Kluwe was too highly paid and too erratic. Director of Pro Scouting Ryan Monnens was part of that consensus.

There were outside assessments from former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo and Pro Bowl punter Craig Hentrich. Angelo gave comments and Hentrich gave grades. They were asked to assess  (1) get-off time; (2) gross punting average; (3) net punting average; (4) hang time; (5) directional punting; and (6) pooch punting.

Metric Hentrich
Get-off time A
Gross Avg
Net Avg B+
Hang Time D
Directional Punting C
Pooch C
Overall C

As you can see, Hentrich did not give a grade for “gross average” but instead said “[h]aving the opportunity to play 15 of 21 games in domes does make this significantly easier to accomplish.” Hentrich determined that Kluwe would most likely be in the top third of the NFL for gross punting average. One could reasonably project that to something like a C+ or a B- if you were really concerned. The hang time is the real concern.

Hentrich did take care to point out that Kluwe’s hang time was far worse outside and that net punting average is not a great statistic, as it is generally a product of coverage and special teams.

Jerry Angelo agreed that the get-off time was very good and made particular note of the hang time, which he said was very low—though he did not notice a significant difference between outdoor and indoor punting. Angelo disagreed strongly with the argument that Hentrich made that Kluwe could not pin the team inside the twenty, saying he “did “a very good job of placing the ball inside the 20 when he’s around midfield.” Angelo said, in his evaluation, “this is what [Kluwe] does the best consistently.”

For those curious, Pro Football Focus’ statistics indicate that Kluwe put opponents inside the twenty rarely as a percentage of his total punts, ranking 29th of 32 punters with at least 50 punts. On the other hand, that could have been a product of field position, as his inside-the-20 to touchback ratio was the fourth-best in the league, one better than Andy Lee’s and just under Jon Ryan’s.

That is probably irrelevant, as Kluwe led the league in percentage of punts returned and specifically had poor hang time outdoors.

Jerry Angelo said that the team would have been justified in releasing Kluwe if they did not like his punting style, they feel he’s at an age where he should decline soon and that they feel his veteran salary was too high. He “thought it was reasonable for the Vikings to release  Kluwe after his 2012 season given Kluwe’s age and the presumption that his leg strength would diminish as he got older.”

This was especially true in light of the fact that the team would be soon playing in an open-air stadium for two seasons.

From the memo, “Angelo noted that a punter’s hang time and distance are the most important criteria when playing outdoors.” Final note:

No interviewed witness agreed that Kluwe had a good year in 2012.

2) For the claim that the coaching staff improperly tried to discourage his activism

The memo concluded that the Vikings were concerned about the potential impact of any distraction from the activism, but not that they attempted to discourage the activism itself. Kluwe reported that he approached the Vikings legal department to ask if he could advocate on behalf of marriage equality and they approved.

Outside public relations consultant Lisa Levine was involved in at least one meeting between former head coach Leslie Frazier and Kluwe, and she does not recall any attempts to dissuade Kluwe, implicit or explicit.

In September of 2012, the report indicates that Priefer voiced support for Kluwe’s activism, while Spielman stated that Kluwe’s views were not a distraction. The report indicates that Spielman encouraged Kluwe.

Les Pico indicated that while the staff outwardly indicated that they didn’t feel it was a distraction, players felt it was, saying there was a “buzz” around the team about the debate and his involvement, and the players thought it was a distraction despite agreeing with his stance.

In response to Kluwe’s claims that players never asked him to tone it down, both former kicker Ryan Longwell and long snapper Cullen Loeffler had multiple conversations where they requested he do exactly that.

Longwell pointed out that “he noticed Priefer’s frustration with Kluwe’s “off-the-field” issues. He also noted that Frazier had asked Longwell to try to “get Kluwe to calm down.””

Kluwe evidently responded by saying he could stand for anything he wanted to. There are some interesting sequencing issues involved with Longwell here, detailed below, in the section titled “Kluwe’s response.”

3) On the claim that Kluwe’s statistics were in line with his career statistics and in line with other punters

In the memo, Littler and Mendelson lawyer Donald S. Prophete mentions that Kluwe evidently stated his performance was better than at least five other punters who played during the 2013 season.

In the report, Kluwe stated that his 2012 was better than at least 5 who played in 2013, naming three: 1) Sav Rocca of the Washington Redskins 2) Ryan Quigley of the New York Jets and 3) Spencer Lanning of the Cleveland Browns.

The investigators looked at some statistics gathered about Chris Kluwe to confirm and reportedly concluded that he fell below his averages in several categories. Specifically, the number of fair catches forced (12) were nearly three below his career average (14.7). His gross punting average was far worse (though them noting his longest punt was four yards shorter than his average in his first seven years is interesting, but ultimately trivial). They also compared his longest punt to other punters, and found him ranked 30th of 32 qualified punters in that category (again, oddly trivial).

The investigators, according to Prophete, concluded that drafting Jeff Locke made sense for a number of reasons (his ranking at CBS, his round projection and his price tag). There is an irrelevant section where Locke is compared favorably to Kluwe, though he is not evaluated using the same criteria Kluwe was (in particular, get-off, hang time and directional punting ability).

4) On potential claims of tortious interference/blacklisting

From the mem0:

After the Vikings released Kluwe, Priefer recalled that he spoke favorably to coaches from other teams, including the Cleveland Browns, who made inquiries about him.11 He recalled telling them that “He [Kluwe] doesn’t bring ‘off the field stuff’ on the field.” Spielman similarly spoke favorably of Kluwe to Reggie McKenzie of the Oakland Raiders, telling him that he would definitely “take a shot on Chris.” Spielman also told McKenzie that he had no concerns about the “off-field stuff.” Spielman said to McKenzie that Kluwe’s political views  were not a distraction. On May 15, 2013, the Oakland Raiders signed Kluwe to a one-year  contract.

Littler Mendelson also concluded there was no evidence that the team undercut Kluwe’s opportunities with other teams. Investigators attempted to contact the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears about Kluwe’s interactions with them and the nature of their evaluation of him, but they declined to comment, according to the memo.

5) On the claim that the Vikings created a hostile work environment on the basis of sexual orientation

From the memo:

The investigation did not reveal any systemic or institutional problems with respect to homophobic behavior within the Vikings organization. Many interviewees said that they did not hear any intentionally derogatory or harassing comments toward gay individuals. Several, however, noted “insensitive” or “immature” comments, such as, the clothing someone was wearing “looks gay.”

No other witnesses recalled hearing Priefer continue to make inappropriate statements about sexual orientation, per Prophete.

The Vikings have instituted diversity and anti-harassment training for nine years, and it has been mandatory for all staff, coaches and players for the last three years.

6) On the claim that the management knew of inappropriate statements and failed to address them

Chris Kluwe said he never reported the statements, according to the memo, to Human Resources or anyone else in the organization other than Loeffler and kicker Blair Walsh. Kluwe did discuss the comments with Les Pico, however, but specifically asked Pico to keep the allegations confidential so that Loeffler would not be blackballed (Kluwe was “adamant”).

Loeffler had signed an affidavit corroborating Kluwe’s report.

Les Pico, according to the memo, wanted to respect Kluwe’s confidentiality, but also wanted to report a potential violation of hostile workplace laws. He reported to Spielman and Kevin Warren (then VP of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Office, now holds a similar title) that there was a problem between Kluwe and Priefer that was serious, but would not divulge the details.

In the second interview with Pico, he said to the investigators that he told Spielman and Warren about “derogatory statements.” There was no evidence of written or verbal communication that Pico raised specific concerns about the allegation, per Kluwe’s request.

When asked why he didn’t bring the comments to the attention of others, Kluwe explained he didn’t know he was going to be released at the time. This must have changed at some point, because earlier in the report, the investigators indicated that Kluwe “knew he was going to be released” when he came to Pico in May. Kluwe also indicated in interviews outside of the investigation that he didn’t “trust anyone” inside the organization.

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Impact

The impact of this is smaller than one might think. In the report, there’s indications that Kluwe acted unprofessionally, including insensitive remarks about the Jerry Sandusky situation at Penn State and dropping his pants in front of 20-25 business people on a tour throughout the locker room.

Those anecdotes should not have any impact on the specific legal claims brought forth by Kluwe—they do not indicate that Kluwe was more or less subject to religious discrimination, tortious interference in contractual obligations, a hostile workplace, retaliatory termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress or defamation.

Though Kluwe comes out of this memo—again, one that has been scrubbed by the Vikings, per Halunen and Kluwe—looking far worse, all the negative anecdotes serve to tarnish his reputation and make him look more like an asshole but do not absolve Mike Priefer or the Vikings of legal claims.

From what we can tell, it will be difficult for Kluwe and Halunen to pursue the blacklisting/tortious interference claim given the positive recommendations to other teams or a defamation claim, unless Kluwe can use the report (unlikely) to draw up additional grounds for defamation.

Then again, Kluwe has himself brought up the situation regarding his tryouts in Cincinnati and may have brought it up to the investigators. If so, then it is at least a little interesting that this hasn’t been included in the report—though Cincinnati did not respond to requests for an interview, there is the possibility that investigators could have looked at recorded communication between the two teams to inquire about this specific allegation.

If Kluwe’s defamation claims stem from other alleged incidents—those aside from their interactions with other teams—then the report either did not address them or the team released a version of the report that did not address them.

The hostile workplace claim is on much shakier ground with the release of this report, though it should be noted that Kluwe was also engaging in protected activity, not merely a member of a protected class. Still, it does not look like, based on the information at hand provided to us by the Vikings, that they violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act with regards to his work to “advance the cause of human rights” (wording of the law).

There is no indication in the released report of any activity, favorable or unfavorable regarding Kluwe’s claim of religious discrimination. I do not know if the investigation attempted to cover this ground, though Kluwe is claimed to have alleged in interviews that Priefer said the following statements:

  • That [Kluwe] would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible
  • “You’ll burn in hell with the gays”
  • “Jesus Christ is the only salvation”
  • “The Bible is the only book that’s right . . . it doesn’t matter what else you read”

Some of those statements, particularly the last two, would not likely be reasonable grounds for religious discrimination claims by themselves, but repeated proselytizing at the workplace when it is explicitly unwanted can constitute harassment, and therefore discriminatory behavior.

The other remarks Kluwe alleges Priefer to have made (that Priefer used a derogatory term to refer to gay people, or that Priefer outwardly stated that “two men kissing is disgusting”) do not appear to be supported, given the conclusions the report made about a hostile workplace environment with regards to sexual orientation.

As I’ve stressed a few times that the specific (presumed) fact that the Vikings would have released Chris Kluwe otherwise is not necessarily a legal defense depending on the venue the lawsuit and the standard used to evaluate a wrongful termination claim. Given what the Vikings have released of the report, and what we know, it still would be difficult for Kluwe to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit, because what the Vikings have released indicates that he would not be able to sufficiently prove the Vikings may have retaliated against him or his work under the “significant factor” test.

Commenter Krauser (who you will see in the comments section below as well) had a number of interesting observations about the nature of the report and its odd inclusion of certain data at Footballs Future.

The discussion of Les Pico’s role is troublesome. Kluwe and Loeffler reportedly told him about Priefer’s remarks but both wanted it to be kept confidential. Pico is described as being “in a bind”. He is described as informing Spielman “that there was a problem between Kluwe and Priefer, but not divulging anything specific about what Kluwe alleged”. The report goes on to say: “The independent investigation found no written or verbal communication or written document—whether email, memorandum, calendar appointment, text message, voicemail, etc.—wherein Pico raised any issue regarding Kluwe to anyone.”

What it *doesn’t* say is what Spielman did with what Pico brought to him, or whether Spielman addressed the problem with Kluwe or Priefer or anyone. That’s a pretty big gap in the story.

. . .

There is no evidence offered that the Vikings management was supportive of Kluwe’s activism, beyond their own description of their statements and point of view. Supportive comments were apparently made by Frazier (who denies telling Kluwe to stop speaking out), Spielman (in a private conversation with his wife) and even Priefer (who “voiced support for Kluwe’s activism, even as he acknowledged Kluwe’s political views differed from his own.”). The report passes along these descriptions without noticing that there is “no support in the record” for them. What Spielman said to his wife over breakfast is evidence, apparently.

And so on. It’s an interesting read.

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Kluwe’s Response

Chris Kluwe has responded with vitriol on Twitter. Much of it, I don’t need to go into—including threats to leak damaging information to the Vikings, and actually leaking potentially damaging information about the Vikings which may not even be true.

In part, Kluwe is requesting that we make sure to remember that Priefer was guilty (though his claims of improper focus are not helped with leaked rumors) and that it is important to emphasize that the full report is not out.

The report includes information about Ryan Longwell, but Kluwe claims that the report must therefore include specious information because “Blair Walsh was [their] kicker at the time.” Longwell’s interactions with Kluwe are many, and Kluwe began to get involved in the marriage equality debate after a request made in “the summer of 2012.” This would support Kluwe’s claim that Longwell could not have been around at the time the reported distractions were a result of his activism. Ryan Longwell was not on the roster after the free agency period started, well before the beginning of summer.

This would at the very worst imply that Kluwe was kind of a distracting guy, though this does not rebut the report’s claims that Les Pico and “other players” saw the activism as distracting.

Kluwe claims that he was asked specifically to only punt right, not left, for better results. This is sort of a reflexive statement, however. If the punt coverage was better on the right, that is what they would ask of Kluwe independent of his ability. But if he is bad at punting left, then they would also ask that of Kluwe.

The person Kluwe is quoting by way of the report is Chris White, the former special teams assistant with the Vikings, who would theoretically be familiar with instructions given to Kluwe about how to punt. Spielman, who would theoretically also be informed of Kluwe’s instructions when evaluating (one would hope) has been quoted in the report as saying he was “horrible with directional punting to the left.” There are numerous other members on the staff who argue Kluwe is bad at directional punting.

Kluwe additionally claims that the management “threw Les Pico under the bus.”

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Executive summary, full report, or something in between?

There is some interesting, if somewhat conflicting information regarding how “open” or at least thorough Kluwe’s lawyer wanted the investigation to be. According to the Star Tribune, Madel sent an email to the investigators asking that the “full report” not be released. That can mean a few things:

 

In a July 8 e-mail Halunen sent Madel, one of the independent investigators, Halunen appeared to suggest that the Kluwe team no longer wanted the entire report released.

“… The more I think about it I believe it would be a mistake for a number of reasons,” Halunen writes in the e-mail, obtained by the Star Tribune from a source close to the investigation. “They [the details] will only provide fodder for the media and pundits to attack the methodology, integrity or content to serve their own agenda. Finally, why should confidences shared by witnesses during the course of the investigation that may be very personal in nature be shared publicly?”

When asked about the e-mail, Halunen said his client wants the 150-page investigation released but not the “thousands of pages” of “backup data” containing interviews and other private matters unrelated to the investigation to protect the confidentially of the other witnesses.

In the 150-page report Halunen and Kluwe want released, Halunen said, there are unflattering remarks made by Kluwe. He said he and Kluwe are not trying to hide from that.

“He said some things that might be offensive to some people, and he completely owns that,” Halunen said. “It’s sort of a different culture. A lot of stuff goes on in the locker room. Sometimes, on occasion, he’s part of that too. … It was jokes. Anyone that would read it would say, ‘Oh, that’s funny.’ Nothing that we’re worried about at all. All innocent stuff.”

As disingenuine as it sounds (and make no mistake, there’s every reason to believe Halunen made a misstep stemming from some level of disingenuousness), he is right that there is a substantial difference between releasing the 150-page summary and the thousands of pages of interviews and whatnot that could include some embarrassing or incriminating information from witnesses. It’s clear that the source that leaked the email to the Star Tribune had an agenda in doing so, but they weren’t necessarily wrong.

Certainly, Kluwe is not innocent when it comes to contributing to a poisonous locker room environment. Kluwe has claimed that he’s “mocking the rapists” in that specific anecdote, but it fails a fairly critical test of satire: when joking about a sensitive subject, it is generally considered offensive to make a joke that the victims would not find funny. That is, “punching up, not down.”

Regardless, Halunen is correct in pointing out that he could very well be arguing against releasing the “full report” but in favor of releasing the full conclusion without being contradictory. But without being specific in his press conference (and without knowing the full text of the email), it looks very bad.

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Also of note, the Wilfs also released their own apology:

We want to express our appreciation to former Chief Justice Magnuson and Mr. Madel of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi for their highly professional and thorough efforts to compile a complete independent investigation that would find the facts. They and their colleagues proceeded where the evidence led them and were in full control of the investigation at all times.

We are also grateful to Donald Prophete and Littler Mendelson for their detailed work in reviewing the investigative information and providing conclusions on the allegations in their report. We are pleased that they concluded that there was no wrongdoing on the club’s part and that the decision to release Chris was based on his on-field performance.

We are very disappointed with some of the findings contained within the report. As we have said in the past, we consistently strive to create – and believe we have – a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for our players, coaches and staff, and we strongly disassociate the club from the statement that Coach Priefer made. Coach Priefer is a good man, and we know that he deeply regrets the comment. We do not believe that this error in judgment should define him.

Accountability, however, is important both on and off the field. In this instance, Coach Priefer fell short of what is expected. Accordingly, we have decided to suspend Coach Priefer without pay for the first three games of the 2014 regular season. In addition, he will be required to satisfactorily complete specialized workplace training that will include an emphasis on the managing of diversity and sexual orientation. If Coach Priefer completes this training and conducts himself in accordance with our workplace policies, we will consider reducing the length of his suspension by one game.

We will continue to hold all team members accountable and take the outlined critical steps to further educate everyone within our organization both individually and collectively. We will accept nothing less than creating a franchise that Minnesotans and Vikings fans everywhere can be proud of on and off the field. 

 

66 COMMENTS

  1. Why didnt the Vikings issue these statements and punsuhnwnt 6 months ago? Why did their teeth have to be pulled to even release this? This whole thing stinks. I wouldn’t want to work for a boss who spouted religious intolerance. This should have been a no brainer suspension long ago.

    • Where is there any evidence of this “spouted religious intolerance” you mention? By chance, did you accidentally read the Hobby Lobby decision in lieu of the investigative report?

    • Have you ever played football? Have you ever been in a lockerroom? Right or wrong comments like that are commonplace in lockerrooms at all levels. I’d bet my bottom dollar that Priefer doesn’t actually want to kill every gay but was making a joke with people he thought were friends. We are getting way too PC here and sensitive. So glad Kluwe is gone and that his career failed elsewhere.

      • I don’t think anyone is saying Priefer wants to do what he joked about. It is more about his motivation for saying it.

  2. I think management in their heart agrees with Prefers comments or they would have acted in their own accord and not because Kluwe kicked and screamed this hard.

    • Good for them then, what happened to the right to have religious opinions? I don’t understand why we need to worry about hurting feelings 24/7 nowadays. Man up people.

      • If there’s nothing wrong with what they did, how about the Vikings “man up,” release the independent report, and stop hiding behind their lawyers. Pfieffer lied about the comment until he was forced to come clean. How’s that a for manly behavior? The whole thing seems pretty damn cowardly to me.

  3. “Kluwe also indicated in interviews outside of the investigation that he didn’t “trust anyone” inside the organization.”
    Sounds a bit like Kluwe is a bit paranoid? Yeah I think.
    Also Kluwe asked to only punt right? Really? You’re a well paid professional punter and you can only punt in one direction? OK…
    This thing was handled great by Loeffler. He had to be honest and was, unlike his coach. And he did what Kluwe failed to…laughed it off!
    Maybe Priefer lied to Frazier about saying it. Maybe he was lying to everyone until just recently…
    Good job reporting all this Arif, thanks.

    • Honestly, what does it say about Kluwe that he attempts to validate himself as a great punter by stating that he was better than FIVE other punters in the league… two of whom he couldn’t even name?!?

    • CC, I wouldn’t call Priefer a liar, he could have easily said that as a joke and not have ever thought about it again.

  4. They didn’t do anything six months ago because they had to wait for an investigation to be concluded. Kluwe, by his own admission, did not report this. If they punished Preifer simply on the accusation and it turned out to be fully or partially false, then Preifer would have a case for a lawsuit, Not to mention there’s that pesky, inconvenient “innocent until proven guilty” thing that people like to toss out the window when sensitive topics get raised.

  5. Yeah, unless the “unsanitized” version of the report includes a wealth of relevant information, I think it’s pretty obvious why the Vikings didn’t agree to Kluwe’s demands: His case, while potentially winnable, isn’t NEARLY as strong as he claims. Just look at the blackballing claim alone: Is is not pretty much dead on arrival? It’s like he’s just throw crap against the wall to see what sticks. Kluwe talks a big game, but when people respond, all of his bluster is put into perspective. Honest to God, I’m sick of his pathetic, childish rants. Grow the f*** up. Just look at his reaction on Twitter. Actually, look at his public behavior over the last few years. From calling people crude names to saying he wished someone would fall onto a rusty pile of AIDS needles, he’s clearly established himself as one of the biggest blowhards in professional sports, and that’s saying something. If he can prove his claims in a court of law (and the ruling can survive the appeals process), then more power to him. But he will still be a egomaniacal man-child. If I were a spokesperson for any gay-rights group, I’d be trying to distance myself from Kluwe as fast as possible. He’s losing his grip on reality.

    • – “Yeah, unless the “unsanitized” version of the report includes a wealth of relevant information, I think it’s pretty obvious why the Vikings didn’t agree to Kluwe’s demands: His case, while potentially winnable, isn’t NEARLY as strong as he claims.” —

      Wait, you’re a lawyer, right?

      What do you think the odds are that you’re getting a representative picture of what really happened from a summary written by Vikings lawyers (the 29 page PDF and the summary of it on the team’s website wasn’t written by the independent investigators) about a team-funded investigation with witnesses not required to testify under oath?

      If this summary is a fair and accurate account, why not release the full report? The only members of the Vikings who come off even slightly badly are Priefer (who maybe said one bad thing one time, he doesn’t remember, but if he did it was because Kluwe was slacking off in practice, and he was joking anyway) and Les Pico (who was “in a bind”).

      Did you notice how statements and beliefs of management are presented as evidence in the PDF summary despite a lack of any meaningful corroboration? Frazier remembers his meeting with Kluwe differently than the Deadspin article. Priefer said nice things about Kluwe to the Browns, after he was released. Spielman even privately supported Kluwe’s activism — how do we know? He had a private conversation about it with his wife. Is there any evidence of all these good deeds and positive intentions? None at all. Does the summary mention that lack of corroboration?

      One of the statements Kluwe alleged Priefer made has been confirmed. The summary says “there is no support in the record that Priefer made any additional statements of this nature”. It doesn’t point out that, in a situation where in some sense it’s Kluwe’s word against Priefer’s, there is already a confirmed example of Priefer lying. It doesn’t include any follow up questions to Priefer about the other statements he’d also denied at first, after he changed his story about the “nuclear” comment.

      This is more like a closing argument by the Vikings than a complete, balanced, independent account of what happened.

      If there was nothing else to the story than what was published today, the Vikings would have printed the full report in 24 pt type and slammed it down on the table in front of Kluwe during his press conference. Then they could’ve paid him the $1M for charity (not a big loss for a team worth $1B) and suspended Priefer for 4 games instead of 3. And this would all be done with.

      Rather than publishing the full report of the independent investigation, they’re inviting a $10M lawsuit. You really think that’s because it’s too flattering?

  6. I recommend that Kluwe’s lawyers hush their client.
    “Bet you didn’t hear about that one in the news. We can do this all day, Vikings. Special teams hears *everything*.”
    He sounds like a little rat. He can’t help but run his mouth…can’t wait to.
    In my experience a guy who talks to much is not to be trusted. Trust me.

    • Why do you believe peoples’ opinions are a barometer by which to measure their ideology? A majority of people don’t affiliate with a political party, nor do they consider themselves political. And therefore, they have more than earned the luxury of not having to be interrogated over their perceived political preferences ON A SPORTS BLOG.

      • There’s a difference between “interrogating” and taking a poll. Personally, I’m not interested in peoples’ political beliefs and the perhaps nonexistent correlation to their stance on Kluwe. Regardless, I’m not upset because he asked. I can either choose to share my ideas or not, they’re not being forced out of me, and that’s why I don’t find his comment inappropriate.

      • One question, that’s easily ignored if you wanted to, and now I’m a relentless barometer of ideology, and a ruthless interrogator, eh?

        The waitress at the Waffle Hut must send you into a rage, with all those wicked interrogations regarding white/wheat bread, eggs, milk or orange juice, etc.

  7. The report is incomplete. It never once makes reference to the time I rear ended Kluwe at the Traverse County demolition derby. Chris will deny it, of course. But I clearly recall blowing out his radiator. There was this really icky fluid everywhere. It was shocking.

  8. Who is anyone kidding, kluwe was a huge distraction. So much so the NFL was coming down on him. Anyone remember the adding of patches to a jersey. To make a point about kickers. I believe he got fined for that. He was more worried bout his different projects his last year then actually doing his fricken job. It got so bad he stopped producing. So he got cut. Anyone of us would be fired if we stopped producing too. And sueing for mental anguish cause he got cut. What is he 2? Every season every team cuts its rosters down. Do you hear about anyone else whinning and screaming? No they take it like men not babies. As far as I’m concerned he lost all creditability today. Sounds like an immature brat demanding attention.

  9. It is worth noting that albeit the official report may have been “scrubbed” by Vikings’ attorneys, the Rules of Professional Conduct as enforced by the ABA (American Bar Association) prohibits a lawyer(s) from intentionally misrepresenting any facts found in a legal document. In other words, when the report cites but Loeffler’s corroboration and Priefer’s non-denial re the “nuke” remark as the basis in which Priefer probably did make said comment, it would be unethically misleading if there actually existed more evidence corroborating Kluwe’s claim other than just Loeffler’s account. What makes that particularly interesting is because Kluwe and his attorney purported to have a text message from Blair Walsh corroborating that portion of Kluwe’s allegation.

    http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_24992553/chris-kluwes-lawyer-says-blair-walsh-cullen-loeffler

    As you can see from the article, Kluwe’s attorney even went so far as to say, “If Walsh is going to lie, this will all be exposed…. If Walsh is going to lie, that’s his choice. But at the end of the day, we believe this is going to come out. We have evidence. So he made that choice, I guess.” If Halunen misrepresented evidence, or such evidence doesn’t exist, after accusing a private citizen in a public forum of “lying”, he could be — and should be — severely disciplined by the ABA.

  10. One more thing: I always did like Ryan Longwell while he was here (versus, say, in Green Bay). He was a good kicker, but more importantly, he always came off as a good guy — a consummate professional, active in the community, well respected by his teammates, the media, and the fans. If anything, after reading this “synopsis” of the investigation, I only respect him all the more. In terms of his personality, he appears every bit a dichotomy of Kluwe. Like Kluwe, Longwell was cut for a younger player at his position; but look at the difference in how they have handled it. Longwell obviously is not a fan of Rick Spielman; as his tweet about the Vikings having let go “the wrong guy” after they fired Frazier would so indicate. There was an opportunity here in the course of the investigation for Longwell to have done some “ax grinding” himself. But, at least by this report’s account, he refrained from doing any such thing. He wasn’t under any obligation to take time out of his life in order to cooperate with the investigators, and he certainly was in a great position to burn the franchise that cut him if he had any intention of doing so. The contrast between him and Kluwe is pronounced and remarkable: Longwell comes off as an adult, while Kluwe a juvenile. Having played all those years together, it’s too bad that Chris didn’t learn more from his teammate (whom he also considered a friend) on how to act like a professional regardless of the situation you find yourself in.

    • XLEVITY, thanks for the clarification about the ABA’s Rules for Professional Conduct. Did you read that comment, Krauser? Arif, do you want to add that to the top of your story? No? ;-) In all seriousness, it’s quite relevant. I don’t know all of the ABA’s practices and policies, but as I alluded to earlier, the idea that the Vikings lawyers are lying about the specific findings in the report seems pretty unlikely. Why? Because it would make the release of the full report far more devastating to the organization. Now, as XLEVITY has pointed out, it could potentially lead to serious consequences for the lawyers involved.

      • I didn’t say they were lying, I said it seems to be a selective account written in support of the Vikings side of the situation: the lack of evidence for claims against them is noted, the lack of evidence for claims in favor of them is not, etc.

        Selective and biased accounts are the rule, not the exception, in an adversarial legal system. It doesn’t break any guidelines to represent a client’s interests vigorously. There’s no expectation that the Vikings lawyers would have to be fair to Kluwe.

        The stumbling blocks to a settlement were:
        — $900K to charities the Wilfs are willing to support anyway, from a net worth of >$1B
        — an additional 1 game suspension for Priefer, still back on the sideline well before the bye week
        — the publication of the full report

        So why do you think the Vikings wouldn’t settle, if the full report was half as favorable to the Vikings as this team-controlled summary?

  11. The release of this report makes the drama from Tuesday even weirder. Kluwe’s lawyer says the Vikings and/or the investigators told him they wouldn’t release the investigator’s report. The Vikings and the investigators released a statement saying they never told anyone they wouldn’t release the report. Then, the Vikings don’t release the report. I don’t get it.

    • Yeah, that increases Kluwe’s credibility (as a potential litigant, not as a good person in general) and diminishes the team’s, in my eyes.

  12. Another weird thing: Priefer denied the “nuke the gays” statement in his initial press release back in January, denied it again in the investigation, and then said he wouldn’t disagree with Loeffler, indicating maybe he didn’t remember saying it or it was a joke or something. Now his apology contains what appears to be a full-blown admission he said it. Strange in the context of a situation where his credibility will be at issue.

    • Yeah, the report doesn’t include any follow up questions to Priefer after he changed his story on that one point, and doesn’t mention whether he should still be considered credible.

      It does include Blair Walsh’s defense of him as the kind of person who wouldn’t say something like that — weirdly, a paragraph or two after it was confirmed that he in fact did say it.

      I guess the idea is that this is a good person who had a one-time lapse. That’s a fair defense after making a single admission.

      It’s interesting that more of the report is devoted to supporting Priefer’s good character and giving examples of Kluwe’s bad character and poor punting stats than describing the situation in which the offensive remarks were allegedly made in the first place. IIRC there are hardly any direct quotes from Kluwe included, which is really odd, if he’s the accuser and one of the main witnesses.

      But that’s not a surprise, since the report is written to protect the team’s interest in the situation.

  13. Krauser, are you actually Chris Kluwe? “What do you think the odds are that you’re getting a representative picture of what really happened from a summary written by Vikings lawyers?” Oh, I don’t know, probably about the same as the odds that we’ve been getting a representative picture about what really happened from Kluwe and his laywer for the last six months. Of course, you’ve been lapping it up, all but declaring Kluwe the winner without one scrap of evidence. For the record, Kluwe declaring things to be true doesn’t magically make it so.

    Face it, Kluwe is a pathetic, whiny little hypocrite! You’ve been defending a loser. I realize that’s probably hard for you to admit, but you’ll feel so much better once you do. Good god, when you have to start questioning the validity of the reports findings because they were summarized, you’re really grasping at straws. “The 29 page PDF and the summary of it on the team’s website wasn’t written by the independent investigators.” Oh no! You’re right! I’m sure the “real” report is totally different, and essentially says the exact opposite of everything the lawyers claim it said. Because that wouldn’t end up being an even bigger story, right?

    I don’t think the Vikings are terrified, nor do I think they mind publicly embarrassing Kluwe. What a piece of s***. He’s actually trying to defend his child-rape humor by claiming he was “mocking the culture that allowed it to take place.” By cutting a hole in his pants and saying that a Penn State alum was going to rape him? Oh, I see: His brilliant social commentary was just too advanced for the rest of us to comprehend. He’s no better than Priefer. Actually, he’s worse: At least Priefer eventually admitted that he made that one comment (albeit in a tone and context that were, according to “the Vikings lawyers”, completely different from what Kluwe described–and yes that matters.) Kluwe never admits to being wrong or making mistakes because he genuinely doesn’t believe he’s ever wrong! Everything is someone else’s fault. Everyone is wrong but him. When you call people names, you’re a bigot. When he does it, it’s humor.

    Kluwe may have his day in court, and with the amount of crap he’s throwing against the wall, he might even get something to stick. As long as he continues to publicly embarrass himself, I look forward to it. I don’t work for the Vikings, but I do hate hypocrites, and Kluwe is king! Do I think the report contains information that may be unflattering to members of the Vikings? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean it supports any of Kluwe’s claims. It’s kind of like his his rape jokes: They don’t prove that Priefer didn’t harass Kluwe, but they do prove that Kluwe is a sick bastard. It’s the kind of story that you wouldn’t generally want publicized even though it doesn’t hurt your legal case.

    Keep defending him, Krauser. It keeps things interesting.

    • Authan, your invective and personal attacks are unbecoming, make it hard to have an intelligent conversation with you. I’m a neurologist who writes fairly extensively about the Vikes online. Kluwe is no hero to me. I don’t and didn’t defend any of the offensive stuff he’s done or said.

      I did say he’s apparently not had much trouble making his case. The fact that his most explosive allegation was confirmed in the report (in the mildest language possible, and with every possible caveat, but still) is still the headline this morning, despite the (justifiable IMO) character assassination of Kluwe that accompanied it.

      If there really was nothing else he could convincingly prove, I expect he’d be backing down now and taking the settlement. Instead, he has been attempting to press the issue, complaining (as it turned out, correctly) that the team wouldn’t release the full report. That suggests he’s very confident in his case, if you stop and think about it. I gather you think he’s delusional, but I don’t.

      As a lawyer, I would expect you to read more carefully than you’re apparently willing to do here, and to weight the value of information based in part on its source. It’s a little surprising that you put so much faith in what the Vikings have published so far.

      My reading on you as a source is that you’re more interested in defending the team and attacking the character of the guy you (deservedly) dislike than considering the actual evidence or the public record so far. I’ve done nothing to step on your toes and yet you’re taking shots at me. Unless you walk that back, I think we’re done.

    • KRAUSER: I’m not sure where I launched personal, invective attacks against you, but I’m sorry if you were offended. Honestly, I appreciate your well-articulated positions even if I disagree with them. I did feel (and still do) that you’ve been very quick to give Kluwe the benefit of the doubt and to generally accept his version of events despite the fact that he hasn’t provided a single shred of evidence. The Vikings previous silence is not evidence. The one specific comment that Priefer did make (albeit in a very different context than what Kluwe reported) was homophobic, but in no way does it “prove” the rest of Kluwe’s claims any more than Paula Deen’s use of a racial epithet years ago “proved” that her former employee’s discrimination case was valid (that employee ultimately lost the case.) Actually, there are some very interesting similarities between the two cases, but that’s neither here nor there. You are right that Kluwe hasn’t backed down because he thinks his case is strong. Of course, this is the same guy who is currently defending his rape jokes as an attempt to criticize Penn State’s institutional flaws…lol! My god, has he ever admitted to being wrong about anything? Ever? Yes, I do think he’s delusional. It’s also worth noting that the Vikings haven’t backed down either. You could make the exact same argument in their favor, as they apparently feel very confident in their case despite knowing that the full report will eventually be disclosed.

      I don’t like Chris Kluwe, I don’t trust his motives, and until he offers something more than his hysterical twitter rants as evidence, I’m not going to change my mind. That’s the tough thing about this case: We have precious little evidence to consider, and as a result, our opinions will largely hinge on how we feel about the parties involved. That being said, the full report will eventually come out one way or another. Now, if during the course of his lawsuit the current quotes and findings from the report are somehow completely refuted and it turns out that the Vikings lawyers have lied about what the report actually contains, that will be different. If Kluwe is able to prove any of his claims, I will support him 100% in seeking restitution, and I will publicly admit that you were right :-)

      Again, I do want to apologize if I insulted you personally. I’m not completely sure how your career as a neurologist is relevant (I didn’t make any neurology jokes, did I?), but we’re both Vikings fans, so we should be at least somewhat united.

      • I appreciate the apology, thanks for that.

        I didn’t say my career was relevant, I just offered you a one-line bio since you accused me of being Kluwe, who you then went on to direct a stream of invective at. You also ended by more or less daring me to continue to defend him, which is awfully hostile considering I never made it personal.

        I disagree that opinions at this point should depend mostly on who you like better of the parties involved. I’m not a big fan of Kluwe as a person, and I’m a huge apologist for Spielman and Vikings management, or have been up to this point. (Google my username and Spielman and you’ll find ample evidence of that).

        Even so, I’m extremely unimpressed with how they’ve handled the situation so far. I think the team and management are a long way from home and dry, even if they’ve successfully managed to muddy the waters around the accusation by revealing Kluwe’s own offensive behavior, and limited the apparent scope of the allegations by releasing a scrubbed report that minimizes any of their wrongdoing while offering every possible justification on their side of the issue.

        In any trial about this case, I have a feeling that we’ll hear a lot more, in quotes, about Kluwe’s specific accusations and the specific evidence the Vikings can offer to refute them, and a lot less about Kluwe’s punting stats, Jeff Locke’s draft grade, Rick Spielman’s private conversation with his wife, Ryan Longwell’s opinion about events that happened months after he left the team, and even Kluwe’s own pattern of inappropriate and offensive speech and behavior. The focus will rightly be on the actual matter at hand.

        If and when that happens, I think the overall picture will be kinder to Kluwe (and harsher on the team) than it seems today, though the events of the last 24 hours have probably poisoned the well for him with even the few Vikings fans inclined to support him, regardless of any new revelations in the months ahead.

        That means this was an effective smear campaign, good work Vikings. I wish I was more confident that they will be able to win the case on other terms.

      • You did accuse him of being Kluwe that is perhaps why he said he was a neurologist. The Vikings probably should have just made this go away months ago now this will just drag on for another year.

  14. Kluwe, thank you for not tolerating a hostile work environment. Protecting simple human rights is exceedingly difficult. I would be damned proud to call you a friend.

  15. Arif seems to be dying to part of the Kluwe witchhunt of Mike Preifer. We’re all supposed to feel ok about Kluwe extorting a million from the VIkings because he’s “giving it charity”? Pathetic.

    Priefer is hardly the first NFL coach to make an off color remark in a team setting, he’s just the first one to be publicly hunted like an animal by another animal for it.

    • COMET52 “hunted like an animal by another animal.” That’s a great description. Kluwe complains about Priefer’s homophobic remark because he supposedly wants to stand up for victims and change locker room culture. Meanwhile, in that same locker room, he’s busy cutting hole in his pants and making jokes about kids getting raped.

  16. And can I just point out again how bizarre and off-topic Kluwe’s twitter rant was last night? He alluded to “players caught in a compromising situation with an underage girl”. Now, we all know that Kluwe thinks pedophilia is a comedic gold-mine, but apparently he doesn’t think it’s a problem either. In fact, he never said a word about this supposed incident until after the summarized findings were released (findings that, while incomplete and biased, included key information and quotes that are nor flattering or helpful to Kluwe). What does that supposed incident have to do with ANYTHING? Does that not smack of desperation? “No! I’m starting to lose control of the narrative. Um, um, I know a bunch of secrets! Yeah, really juicy stuff that I forgot to mention earlier. Everyone gather around, I just might name names!” It seems like his story evolves whenever he needs it to.

  17. Arif: What is the deal with the conflicting reports of where the ‘nuke em’ comment was made? Kluwe’s original account had it in a meeting, but Cullen describes it on the practice field…?

  18. I’m not clear on what a ‘3 game suspension’ actually means for a Special Teams Coach.

    Does that mean he’s not allowed on the sidelines on game day? Would it mean he can still do his job during the rest of the week?

  19. In a related story, NOTHING newsworthy happened today in the entire NFL.
    (Except a bunch of balderdash being tweeted continuously by some narcissistic ex-kicker)

    My apologies to you Arif for your incredibly in-depth report of the Kluwe stuff and I certainly do not mean to make light of it but it just doesn’t hold the interest for me as a good Minnesota Viking report!
    Will training camp EVER get here?

    • Dear Vikings: Please save us from ourselves. Give Arif something football-related to right about. He needs you. We need you. The Twins suck, the Wolves are trying to trade away the one player who doesn’t suck, the Wild are months away their next game, and try as I might, I just can’t get that excited about the Lynx. I like them, and I have a sports crush on Maya Moore, but I just haven’t made room in my heart for them yet. Maybe I don’t know how to handle success.

      The Kluwe thing is like a supermarket tabloid: It’s a juicy, drama-filled distraction that keeps you entertained for a while, but it gets old fast, and when it’s all said and done, you feel like you’re somehow worse than when you started.. Remember that scene in the first Superman movie where he flies counter-rotational to the earth so fast that he somehow reverses time? Maybe you could have Cordarrelle Patterson run really fast around the earth to do the same thing. I don’t know, I’m sure you can make it work. In any case, maybe if he can reverse time you can go back and resolve this Kluwe situation before it ever gets out of control. If not, could you just speed up time and bring us to training camp already?

      • Kluwe is a lot of things but dumb, he’s not.
        He waited until the slowest part of the season, when he knew that his story would get the greatest attention.

        • Well it is also when it would distract the team the least as well. Well it would have if the investigation hadn’t taken 7 months.

        • Agreed on all counts, Fran.

          Somewhat along that vein, I’ve spent a bit of time with people whose I.Q.’s bordered on genius (which I personally think Kluwe’s does), and most that I’ve seen have a wicked/snarky sense of humor. I’m guessing had Priefer actually made comments that actually brought the funny, Kluwe wouldn’t have been near as offended. Nuking gays on an island? Horribly unfunny.

          Punting to the right instead of the left? That’s actually sort of funny. Priefer should’ve taken Kluwe out for a beer, and insisted on “pushing Kluwe’s stool in for him.” Make it at least somewhat interesting, is all I’m saying.

          • “pushing Kluwe’s stool in for him.”
            Not sure of your meaning here Tomb.
            Are the 2 of them out to dinner in a public place or relaxing somewhere in private?

            Could be 2 ENTIRELY different things you speak of here. . .

          • I’ll also say this (Since there is nothing else newsworthy in the NFL today)
            I never gave the guy much thought but I dug it when he played a game with a ‘Ray Guy’ patch on his chest because once again, incredibly, Ray had nor been selected to the HOF.
            He knew he would be fined but hey, it got his face on National TV, er. . .I mean showed his support for a fellow kicker.
            It probably would have gone over better had he wore a Mick Tingelhoff patch. . .

  20. Respecting people and treating them with equal value is immensely important, and I am saying that while agreeing with Priefer’s statements on Jesus Christ and the bible. But Kluwe is making himself and the movement he claims look like a big bag of butts with his behavior.

  21. People can hammer on Kluwe all they want but the Vikings were not going to be pushed into dumping Priefer. As strange as it may sound, Kluwe may have saved Priefer’s job. We will never know the inside dealing on this but Spielman would be at the head of my list. The team had to deal with the accusations and did the right thing by putting the special committee together.

    We don’t know how long the report has been in the Viking’s hands, but we have heard leaks since late June. The team hasn’t handled this very well and now will face a big distraction going into training camp and on into the season. The article the team released about Kluwe was not in good taste as the public relation team has not handled this much better than the team’s lawyers.

    This is the most truth involving the whole situation that I have been able to find:

    My working theory on the airwaves on “Mackey & Judd” has been that the Vikings did not want to allow a former employee to bully them into firing a coach. Kluwe is incredibly headstrong and so is Vikings management.

  22. RKMP and Littler are both law firms hired by and for the Vikings. That is fact. The reason there are two of them is that one is the investigating body, the other is an employment law specialist- the critical specific subject matter experts retained to evaluate the investigatory facts.

    What has come out has not been flattering to Kluwe. He should go ahead and sue if he thinks that he could benefit from open discovery and a full public trial. Based on what he has said so far, and what has been released, he would not come off well. The Sandusky revelation has not helped his cause; lots of people are likely to back off a bit- as Arif has- from the prior full-throated defense of Kluwe. The matter is broader and more complex than was advertised by either Kluwe or the rampant silly journalistic speculation.

    Unless he has a lot of specific accusations that he has not yet made, he is not likely to do well when every major sport participates as a friend of the court because this is scenario could get in the way of decisions about whom to cut, and the sometimes subjective reasons for releasing players. The NFL does not want to open the door to government examinations of player decisions. St. Louis is not required to keep Michael Sam if he ranks even with some other player on a consultant’s grading scale. If the Rams believe they are better off on the field for having him on the roster, they are stupid if they cut him, just as the Vikings would be stupid if they cut Kluwe even though he was better than any alternative punter.

    It was dumb in previous years for people like Dave Kopay and Esera Tuaolo to feel that they needed to be secretive about their lives in a world where Adrian Peterson has several children and sometimes does not even know about all of them before a tragedy occurs. The league should have no interest in the love lives of any of its players, particularly where that has no effect on contracted performance.

    It would be just as dumb to destroy teams’ freedom now- in a performance-driven industry- to fire “at will” employees.

  23. RKMP were the independent investigators. They spent months interviewing witnesses and wrote a 150 document outlining their findings, including their conclusions about the validity of Kluwe’s allegations.

    It’s been reported, by Mike Freeman, that their report is favorable to Kluwe.

    The Vikings and Kluwe’s lawyers were negotiating toward a settlement last week. In the end, the Vikings rejected all terms of the settlement. It seems (IMO) that the publication of the independent investigators’ report was the major stumbling block, as other terms (the amount of money Kluwe would donate to charity, the length of Priefer’s suspension), hardly seem worthy of going to court over, on either side.

    After the independent investigation was complete, the Vikings hired a different team of lawyers to write their own evaluation of the he evidence uncovered in the investigation. There was no requirement for them to be independent, they are representing their client, the team. It is their article that was published on kluweinvestigation.com and summarized in the Vikings statement on Friday.

    That article has been presented as a “summary” of the findings of the investigation, but it makes no serious attempt to summarize (offer a concise account, representative in content and intent) the conclusions of the independent investigators. Most of its findings are instead the Vikings lawyers own evaluation of the evidence. This is particularly true for the most serious allegations, including Priefer’s statements and the possibility that the Vikings interfered with Kluwe’s chances of landing another job.

    The article says —

    — “Other than Kluwe’s allegations, there is no support in the record that Priefer made any additional statements of this nature.” —

    — but note that that doesn’t say “the independent investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Priefer made any additional statements of this nature”.

    The article is quick to relay the opinions of some investigators that reached conclusions favorable to the team. Jerry Angelo and Craig Hentrich’s opinions of Kluwe’s punting are given several pages, even while Kluwe is hardly quoted at all on the subject of the allegations he is making.

    In the media, both before the investigation concluded and again today, Kluwe has claimed that test messages from Blair Walsh support his contention that Priefer made multiple homophobic statements, not just the one. Now maybe he’s delusional, or lying. And maybe the investigators decided those texts were inadmissible or didn’t show enough support for what Kluwe claimed to be counted as evidence.

    But the Vikings article doesn’t even mention the existence of the texts, or on what basis they would not be “support in the record that Priefer made any additional statements”. Nor does it include any of Kluwe’s testimony about the texts (though we do get an account of the inner thoughts of Les Pico and Rick Spielman), nor of course the actual texts themselves to read and decide for ourselves.

    It’s likely on that basis, and perhaps others besides, that Kluwe would believe he could benefit from open discovery and a public trial.

    • “It’s been reported by Mike Freeman that that the report is favorable to Kluwe.” Freeman was surprised by Kluwe’s perverse hypocrisy. Why? Because he didn’t know what was in the report. He still has no idea. It was favorable to Kluwe in that it confirmed his “nuke the gays” claim. However, it’s also ruining his reputation. His vitriolic response has only worsened the situation. Consider this: The Vikings know that the full report will come out during the inevitable suit that Kluwe plans to file, so they know that refusing to settle won’t keep anything hidden. The only logical explanation is that they believe they can win the suit, or at the very least, that they will ultimately end up paying less than what Kluwe was demanding.

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