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Kluwe announces he will sue Vikings

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Chris Kluwe, right, and Clayton Halunen
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, tight, with his lawyer, Clayton Halunen, left, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.
Liala Helal/MPR News

Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe announced Tuesday that he will sue the Vikings over their alleged refusal to release findings of an investigation into Kluwe's allegations that he experienced homophobic verbal attacks in 2012.

Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen said in a press conference Tuesday that they have "no choice" but to file a lawsuit after learning Monday that the report will not be released to them or made public.

Halunen said they were promised transparency by the Vikings in their investigation in January 2014. 

In January, the Vikings hired two attorneys to conduct an investigation into Kluwe's allegations about anti-gay comments to Kluwe by special teams coordinator Mike Priefer during the 2012 season. 

In an open letter by Kluwe published on Deadspin in January, titled "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot," Kluwe wrote that his outspoken support of same-sex marriage cost him his job.

The Vikings said "Chris was released strictly based on his football performance." 

• Vikings hire big gun lawyers after Kluwe allegations
• Chris Kluwe On What Cost Him His Job With The Minnesota Vikings

Halunen said the lawsuit will be filed "shortly," likely in state court. His first request will be to obtain the investigation report, he said. The attorney said he plans to make it public when he gets it.

In response, the Vikings released a statement on its website Tuesday saying the team has scheduled a meeting between Halunen and Vikings attorneys to "discuss next steps." It stated that the recommendations that came from the investigation findings will be provided to the Vikings this week.

Kluwe's lawsuit will include suing the Vikings for religious discrimination, human rights statute violation for sexual orientation discrimination because of his activism for gay marriage, defamation, and tortiuous interference with contract, Halunen said.

Kluwe said the religious discrimination portion of the lawsuit has to do with discrimination against him because he is agnostic, he said. He said Priefer made comments to him like, "you'll burn in hell with the gays, Jesus is your only savior."

"Some were delivered mockingly, some weren't," Kluwe said. "Some could've been, hey, he's trying to get a rise out of me, some felt like, ok, yeah he's saying something that he means. And it just felt inappropriate in a way that as they went on, it went beyond simple this is locker room stuff trying to get a rise out of someone."

Kluwe said he hopes when someone looks through the report, they will be aware of the impact certain words and phrases can have on someone, and be aware that a discriminatory culture can happen at any workplace, not just at the Vikings.

"As a country, we need to change that, because it is harmful to a lot of people," Kluwe said.

The Vikings denied the allegations

"The Vikings have never made or broken promises as Kluwe and his attorney Clayton Halunen have claimed," the Vikings statement said Tuesday. "The Vikings have also never engaged in the various comments that Kluwe and Halunen have provided to the media over the past six months."