Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Blog Page 105

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The NCAA found itself subject to another class action lawsuit, this time over grant-in-aid caps (which covers “only tuition, institutional fees, room and board and required course-related books” per the filed lawsuit, available via PDF). Sharrif Floyd is one of the lead plaintiffs named in the case, but aside from providing a written statement over twitter, has declined to comment on the case at the NFL Play60 event, but is willing to expand further later.

The written statement is as follows:

Student athletes need to be respected more. It’s hard for great coaches to do their job when their athletes are just looking for something as simple as an extra meal, a movie date with a friend and comfort that they are gonna be taken care of and not taken advantage of. Athletes shouldn’t be suspended for raising money, to better his life or for looking at a mentor as a father. This has nothing to do with the Gator Nation. I love my college and will always be a Gator.

Sorry for the torrent of legal news regarding the Vikings, but I suppose these things will happen from time to time. More below.



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The Minnesota Vikings are nearing the conclusion of their investigation of former punter Chris Kluwe’s allegations regarding homophobic comments by special teams coach Mike Priefer, and they should be done in a few weeks per attorney and former U.S. Department of Justice trial lawyer Chris Madel (per Ben Goessling of ESPN). Priefer was one of the few staff retained in the new coaching regime (along with six other coaches, like receivers coach George Stewart and offensive line coach/running game coordinator Jeff Davidson). Kluwe has indicated that if the investigation does not conclude by the anniversary of his release—May 6th—that he will pursue legal action against the Vikings.

The May 6th deadline is significant because the deadline by which Kluwe can file a complaint under the Minnesota Human Rights Act is one year, which is why it makes sense for him to file a suit before the investigation is complete (he cannot file a suit after the investigation, should it finish after May 6th).

The likelihood of the investigation finishing before the draft is low, and they will take their own time. Initially, Chris Madel expected the investigation to conclude at the end of March, which of course hasn’t happened.

**UPDATE**: Per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings have agreed to extend the statute of limitations on any potential lawsuit, which means that Kluwe, who was under the impression he needed to file a lawsuit by the 6th (per Minnesota law), may wait until the conclusion of the investigation.

He also indicated that he would sue “obviously for wrongful termination” but I would rather take his lawyers, Clay Halunen’s, word from February 2nd on the wide range of suits that they would potentially pursue, which is broader than the scope of wrongful termination (more on that below).

Kluwe also said the lawsuit may end up being for “quite a bit” of money, and agreed when asked if it could be upwards of $30 million. He also said that he would donate every penny of damages to LGBT charities if he won.

**UPDATE2**: Chris Kluwe contacted me over twitter to say that yes, I should probably defer to his lawyer when discussing the specific terms of any potential lawsuit, and that the “wrongful termination” bit was just a “quick quote”—which is fair. I would also point out that Kluwe was also likely not inaccurate when characterizing what he would sue for, simply incomplete.



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Despite growing up on the East Coast, former NFL linebacker EJ Henderson has come to know Minnesota as home—both as a member of the Vikings and as an active member of the community.

Henderson played high school ball in Aberdeen, Maryland before accepting an athletic scholarship to play for the University of Maryland Terrapins. During his time there, Henderson notched three NCAA records: career unassisted tackles per game (8.8), season unassisted tackles (135 in 2002) and career total tackles per game (12.5).

As a junior, Henderson found himself named the 2001 ACC Player of the year, and in his final season with the Terrapins he was recognized as the nation’s No. 1 defensive player and the No. 1 linebacker.

Most Vikings fans will also know that Henderson’s younger brother Erin followed in EJ’s footsteps. Erin played both quarterback and linebacker at Aberdeen High School, and he redshirted at the University of Maryland.

Being six years apart, the Henderson brothers didn’t play on the same team together until they reached the NFL. “I pretty much played the older brother dynamic,” said EJ, “until probably [Erin’s] freshman or sophomore year in college.”[1] At that point, the dynamic shifted to more of a friendship, as the brothers had so much in common and pursued the same goals. EJ continued to hold a “big brother” role in his leadership toward the pros, and Erin traveled the same path.

EJ’s journey to the NFL proved seamless. Starting his junior season at Maryland, Henderson grasped the reality that reaching the big leagues was a very real scenario for him. At that point, his recognition stretched nationwide. Henderson said he realized the potential “right around when the draft talks started to come out”—when he saw his name included in the lists.

The linebacker entered the 2003 NFL draft and was picked in Round 2 (No. 40 overall) by Minnesota. Henderson debuted for the Vikings that season, in which he played all 16 games and recorded 32 tackles as a rookie.

Although the first couple seasons didn’t make the record books, Henderson solidified himself as a part of the roster and worked his way up.

Number 56 quickly became a fan favorite in Minnesota, consistently coming up with big tackles and showing good speed on the field.

KFAN radio personality and Vikings play-by-play man Paul Allen weighed in on Henderson’s impact with the Vikes:

“EJ is one of my all-time favorites,” said Allen. “I appreciate him so much due to the fact his career started very slowly and he turned the corner and became a stud. Along the way he became more comfortable in his skin and a more open person with guys like me.”[2]

Henderson played his entire nine-year career as a Viking, and he considers himself blessed to have done so.

His favorite memory?  Scoring against the Lions.

On October 8, 2006, Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna passed on a 4th and 10 in the final quarter. Henderson intercepted the pass, then rumbled the ball 45 yards to the end zone. Minnesota went on to win the game, 26-17.

The TD was the only score of Henderson’s career, and he says the moment stands out as a definite highlight among many great memories with the Vikings. “That was probably one of my proudest moments in the Dome.”

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