The Minnesota Vikings and former punter Chris Kluwe have reached a settlement in their dispute over his departure from the team in 2012.
Kluwe had been threatening to sue the team. He was an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage during the debate two years ago over a constitutional amendment that would have banned such marriages in Minnesota. In a post on Deadspin last January, the punter said he believed his opinion played a role in his being cut from the team.
Kluwe also alleged that a coach had made disparaging remarks about homosexuality. He threatened in July to sue the Vikings, and had been in negotiations with the team since then.
The Vikings said Tuesday that they were making a financial contribution to "human rights and anti-hate causes" and would improve sensitivity training for team personnel. Details of the payments were not disclosed, although Kluwe's attorney, Clayton Halunen, said the contributions would go to five charities that advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians and others.
The settlement was announced in a statement released this morning by the Vikings and also by Kluwe, in an appearance at the offices of his attorney in Minneapolis.
Kluwe, who has retired from professional football, will not receive any economic compensation from the agreement. Still, he said he was mostly pleased with the agreement.
"It's one of those things where no one ever gets what they want, but the thing is we are able to do a lot of good for a lot of people," Kluwe said Tuesday. "If I really want to believe in what I say, I can't make it about me, it has to be about how we can help other people — and this allows us to do that."
"We believe the agreement is historic," Halunen said. "It's a first-of-a-kind settlement. My belief is it's a game-changing settlement."
The agreement comes about a month after the Vikings released some of the results of an internal investigation into Kluwe's allegations. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson and a former U.S. Justice Department attorney were hired by the Vikings to investigate Kluwe's charges. They found that special teams coach Mike Priefer had disparaged homosexuality. Priefer was suspended for three games this season.
The investigation also found that the team considered Kluwe's punting substandard in 2012, prompting the Vikings to replace him with Jeff Locke last season.
Kluwe said that he's staying in shape in case any NFL teams are interested in him, but that he expects his NFL career is over. If that's because of his activism, then so be it, he said.
"You have a children's game and you have basic human rights," Kluwe said. "There's one of those that I'm always going to value more than the other — and I would hope more people would view it the same way."
• Read the full statement
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.