The Minnesota Vikings reached a settlement with former punter Chris Kluwe on Aug. 19. Kluwe threatened to file a lawsuit against the Vikings over wrongful dismissal for his support of same-sex marriage rights. On Tuesday, the Vikings agreed to donate an undisclosed amount of money to five gay charities over the next five years.
The Minnesota Vikings have reached a settlement with Chris Kluwe.
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According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Master Tesfatsion, the Vikings "will donate an undisclosted amount to five charities over the next five years" to end the legal battle with their former punter, who threatened to file a lawsuit over wrongful dismissal last year for his support of same-sex marriage:
"The Vikings and their outspoken former punter, Chris Kluwe, have settled their differences after a seven-month battle.
"Under the terms of the settlement, the Vikings will donate an undisclosed amount to five charities over the next five years to benefit LGBT and anti-hate groups, and will sponsor a fundraiser.
"Kluwe said he did not receive any money from the Vikings in the settlement.
"'This will help a lot of people that really need help,' Kluwe said at a Tuesday news conference. 'I think the Vikings are committed to making changes. I think they're committed on this issue in the NFL, and I think it will make a difference over the upcoming year.'
"Kluwe, in a January online article at deadspin.com, accused special teams coach Mike Priefer of saying 'We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.'
"The Vikings launched an independent investigation, but did not release the 150-page report when the investigation ended in June; instead, they issued a 29-page summary in which Priefer admitted the statement, saying it was 'a joke between three men.'
"Kluwe and his attorney, Clayton Halunen, last month threatened a lawsuit to force the release of the entire report. As part of the settlement the report will not be released.
"Halunen said he was provided access to the full report with a concern that there was a systematic discrimination in the organization left out of the summary.
"'After we had a chance to review it, we found out there was nothing there,' Halunen said. 'We're satisfied with what we're provided and that there is no issue.'
"The Vikings also said they would enhance sensitivity training throughout the organization and will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for any discrimination in its club code of conduct.
"'What we're doing now is breaking it up into four different seminars,' said Kevin Warren, Vikings executive vice president of legal affairs. 'We'll have players, coaches and staff people so that we can make sure that the training that we do is much more focused for that individual group...We just want to continually enhance what we've been already doing to make sure we're doing the proper training to help educate our organization.'
"The Vikings also agreed to sponsor a national symposium in Minneapolis involving LGBT leaders and professional athletes this spring.
"Priefer will be suspended for the first three games of the regular season, which could be reduced to two games at the team's discretion if he completes sensitivity training."
ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter Ben Goessling also looked into the settlement:
"Calling his settlement with the Minnesota Vikings an opportunity 'to do a lot of good for a lot of people,' Chris Kluwe announced his fight with the team is over.
"The Vikings and Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen announced Tuesday morning that they had reached a settlement to resolve the former punter's allegations of homophobic behavior by the team. It put the issue to rest 7 1/2 months after Kluwe first published his allegations and avoids the prospect of a lengthy legal battle.
"The Vikings had initially announced a $100,000 contribution to charities that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender causes, and they will make additional contributions for five LGBT-friendly charities over the next five years. The team will also enhance sensitivity training that is already required throughout the organization.
"The parties did not announce the financial terms of the settlement, but Kluwe said he will not receive any money.
"'Everone knows the numbrs we're talking about. It's a substantial commitment to LGBT causes,' said Halunen, who had initially asked for a $1 million charitable donation."
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