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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Chris Kluwe’s lawyer says they have texts from Blair Walsh supporting allegations

Chris KluweThe lawyer for Chris Kluwe says he has text messages from current Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh that support Kluwe’s allegations that Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made homophobic comments during special teams meetings in the 2012 NFL season. Kluwe’s lawyer, Clayton Halunen, also says Kluwe made the team aware of Priefer’s comments last May, which is contrary to what the Vikings said in a statement.

In a Jan. 2 article for Deadspin, Kluwe alleged that Preifer made several homophobic comments, such as “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” Kluwe said that some teammates even admitted what Preifer had said was “messed up.”

The same day that Kluwe made his allegations, Priefer released a statement vehemently denying Kluwe’s accusations. The Vikings also released a statement in which they said that day was the first they had heard of the allegations.

“The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe’s allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter,” the statement began.

However, Halunen says Kluwe approached Vikings player development director Les Pico in May about the allegations prior to being cut (the team’s owners say they were not aware of the allegations until the Deadspin article). Kluwe also asked the team’s long snapper, Cullen Loeffler, who he says was a witness to Priefer’s comments, to sign an affidavit, but he refused. According to Halunen, Walsh said he would support Kluwe if he went public with the accusations.

From ESPN’s article:

Halunen said Kluwe asked Walsh in a subsequent text message if he would support Kluwe’s decision to go public with his claims and corroborate that Walsh was present to hear Priefer’s alleged remarks.

According to Halunen, Walsh told Kluwe at the time that he would.

Though Walsh may have told Kluwe that he supported him at the time, Walsh instead supported his coach in a statement issued on Jan. 2. Here was his statement:

I have been a member of the Minnesota Vikings for 2 years. I want to start off by saying I have the utmost respect for Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier and Mike Priefer. All three, are good men.

I have had countless conversations and interactions with Coach Priefer, and I personally can attest to his integrity and character. His professionalism in the workplace is exemplary, and I firmly believe that my teammates would whole-heartedly agree. The allegations made today are reprehensible and totally not compatible with what Mike Priefer stands for.

As we all know, in the NFL you must perform at the highest level and meet the performance expectations of your coaches, management, and ownership. If these expectations, based upon past performance AND future potential for excellence, are not met, your NFL career with that team, is over. I believe this was the case with Chris, and it is unfair to think that his release was anything other than football related.

In my time here at Minnesota, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier have exemplified true leadership. Contrary to Chris’ statements, they have promoted a workplace environment that was conducive for success. At no time did I ever feel suppressed or that I could not be myself.

I firmly stand behind Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier, and Mike Priefer.

Blair Walsh

I have said from the onset that I believe Kluwe regarding his allegations. I also believe Walsh said at the time he would support Kluwe but that he backed out. He is still a member of the Vikings and has a job to protect.

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