Vikings Will Host Pro-LGBTQ Fundraiser As Part Of Settlement With Ex-Punter Chris Kluwe
In 2014, Kluwe threatened to sue the Vikings, claiming the organization held anti-gay and transgender views. Now, as part of a settlement with 36-year-old Kluwe, the team will host the fundraiser at their headquarters on June 21 “to promote LGBTQ inclusion in sports and raise money for LGBTQ groups,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Kluwe specifically accused special teams coordinator Mike Priefer of making homophobic comments multiple times. Priefer is still employed by the Vikings today.
“We obviously had our issues a while ago, but this is our way of looking forward and trying to figure out how we make sure that we set the stage for that not to happen again,” Kluwe told the Star Tribune. “I think that it’s the ideal outcome in that, at the end of the day, hopefully this will help a lot of people that otherwise might not have gotten that help.”
In 2014, Kluwe wrote a letter to Deadspin titled “I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot.” Since then, he has been a fierce advocate for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights.
There are not many openly gay NFL players who still play in the league. In fact, former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam — who became a practice squad member of the then-St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys — became the first openly gay player in the league when he was drafted in 2014.
Kluwe also once compared the NFL to big tobacco companies.
According to the Star Tribune, the summit will feature several well-known speakers, including Kluwe, former Olympic diver Greg Louganis and former Vikings defensive end Esera Tuaolo.
Vikings COO Kevin Warren reportedly said he hopes that the franchise will organize more events like this fundraiser in the future.
Kluwe played for the Vikings from 2005 to 2012 after playing at UCLA, and officially retired in January 2014.
In September 2017, Kluwe slammed President Donald Trump in an interview on MSNBC. The former punter’s comments came around the same time several NFL teams began engaging in protests against the national anthem as a way to follow Colin Kaepernick’s lead in making a statement on racial inequality and police brutality against minorities. Trump repeatedly condemned the protests and attacked players like Kaepernick in public remarks and on Twitter.
“I don’t think LeBron [James] went far enough [in criticizing Trump],” said Kluwe. “I would have called him a fascist, racist would-be Hitler who I wouldn’t trust around a third grade bake sale. Every day he’s in office he degrades it, probably beyond repair.”