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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:

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Mike Priefer vehemently denies Chris Kluwe’s allegations

Mike Priefer VikingsMinnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer issued a statement Thursday in response to Chris Kluwe’s allegations that he is anti-gay and a bigot. Priefer vehemently denied Kluwe’s allegations.

Here is the statement he sent to some Vikings beat writers via the Star Tribune:

I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe.

I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.

The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way. As a coach, I have always created an accepting environment for my players, including Chris, and have looked to support them both on and off the field.

The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family. While my career focus is to be a great professional football coach, my number one priority has always been to be a protective husband and father to my wife and children.

I will continue to work hard for the Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf family and all of our loyal fans.

Kluwe was released by the team this spring after eight seasons served as their punter. He held his silence until now, which is when he wrote a first-person story for Deadspin in which he stated his belief that he was cut by the Vikings for his outspoken ways. In the story, Kluwe accused Priefer of making homophobic remarks. He labeled Priefer a “bigot,” and GM Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier “cowards.”

We know Priefer came out last year and said Kluwe’s “distractions” were getting old, so that seems to be a pretty solid sign he was frustrated with his punter’s outspoken ways. Though he denies saying what Kluwe alleges, let me just say that I believe Kluwe a lot more than I believe Priefer.

The Vikings also issued a statement in resonse to Kluwe’s article. Here is what they said:

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Chris Kluwe: Mike Priefer is a ‘bigot,’ Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman are ‘cowards’

Chris-Kluwe-Twitter-Rant-Saints-bounty-programsIt is no secret that former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe believes his outspoken stance against gay rights cost him a job in the NFL. Kluwe was one of the better punters in the league for several years, and he was unexpectedly replaced last year when the Vikings chose to draft a punter in the fifth round. Kluwe discussed all that and more in a lengthy piece he wrote for Deadspin.

The column, which is worth reading in its entirety, is mainly meant to expose Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer as a bigot who was ultimately responsible for Kluwe’s termination. After Kluwe had written some articles supporting same-sex marriage in Minnesota, he recalled a time when Priefer made a shockingly homophobic remark during a special teams meeting.

“We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” Kluwe claims Priefer said.

Kluwe said that his Vikings teammates, some of whom disagreed with his stance but were always respectful, agreed that what Priefer said was “messed up.”

After Kluwe wrote to a Maryland politician and chastised him for his stance on gay marriage last September, he said then-head coach Leslie Frazier called him into his office twice to ask him to keep quiet and stop calling attention to himself. Between the first and second meetings, Kluwe said Vikings owner Zigi Wylf told him he was proud of him for speaking out. Frazier supposedly agreed — reluctantly — that he had been overruled.

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Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer: Chris Kluwe’s distractions are getting old

Chris-Kluwe-VikingsMinnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is one of the most outspoken players in the NFL. Some of the stuff he says and does is entertaining, but Kluwe can be annoying in the sense that he is one of those people who seems to think everyone cares what he has to say about everything. In fact, even Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has grown tired of it.

On Thursday, a reporter jokingly asked Preifer if he was going to hide the tape from Kluwe this weekend so he couldn’t stick another pro-Ray Guy patch on his uniform and get himself into trouble. Preifer clearly didn’t think the stunt was amusing.

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” he said according to the Star Tribune. “Those distractions are getting old for me, to be honest with you. Does Ray Guy deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there are other ways to go about doing it, in my opinion.

“To me, it’s getting old,” Priefer said. “He’s got to focus on punting and holding.”

Priefer was then asked if he had spoken to Kluwe about it and he said he hasn’t because the punter “won’t listen.”

Whether it’s calling Hall of Fame quarterbacks nasty names, using a whiteboard to mock the commissioner or swearing it up on Twitter, Kluwe is always looking to get a rise out of someone. Should the Vikings decide to part ways with him, he would likely get a job punting elsewhere. If not, Kluwe certainly has a future as a pundit — whether its in sports, politics or both.