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Vikings Release Statement On Kluwe Allegations
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RandyMossIsBoss


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heimdallr wrote:
in less than a year Kluwe has gone from a quirky football player and minor activist to a true headcase and media whore.

If he would have just retired gracefully he would have been remembered as the best punter in Vikings history up to that point, and one of the more interesting players in this decade. He would have been remembered for being a funny guy and social activist.

Now he is a bitter, hypocritical, attention seeking has-been who won't go away.

Excellent job.
Not to mention a tremendous hypocrite. Used to love this guy, but I'm losing respect for him by the month.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:
The fact that the Vikings would rather make that argument in the media this weekend instead of in court in the months ahead makes me think they're less confident of their chances of winning there than some fans are hoping.

not necessarily.

even if the Vikings are 100% confident they would prevail in court, there are many sensible reasons why they would want to avoid the matter going to court in the first place.

so your point about their rationale behind why they are releasing what they are releasing at this point does not necessarily have a bearing toward what they perceive as their chances of winning.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A close reading of the 29 page pdf shows that its conclusions are impressively slanted against Kluwe.

Arrow The confirmation that Priefer make the "nuclear" comment is stated as mildly as possible: "Priefer’s inability to completely refute that he had made the statement in question lends credibility to the claim." From the report, it was only during his second (not third as had been previously reported) interview that Priefer indirectly confirmed that he might have said that ("[i]f [Loeffler] remembers me saying something on the practice field, I am not going to disagree with it."), but maintained that it was a joke.

Arrow The report lists several additional homophobic statements that Kluwe alleges Priefer made. It later concludes "there is no support in the record that Priefer made any additional statements of this nature". It does not mention Priefer's possible loss of credibility as a witness for having first denied the "nuclear" statement, nor the possibility that that statement would go to his character as someone who would potentially make more than one such remark.

Arrow There is no evidence offered that the Vikings management was supportive of Kluwe's activism, beyond their own description of their statements and point of view. Supportive comments were apparently made by Frazier (who denies telling Kluwe to stop speaking out), Spielman (in a private conversation with his wife) and even Priefer (who "voiced support for Kluwe’s activism, even as he acknowledged Kluwe’s political views differed from his own."). The report passes along these descriptions without noticing that there is "no support in the record" for them. What Spielman said to his wife over breakfast is evidence, apparently.

Arrow Several comments throughout the report suggest that other players found Kluwe's activism to be a distraction. Kluwe claims his teammates never told him to "tone it down". The report continues: "However, Longwell and Loeffler described conversations with Kluwe in which they, respectively, told him to “lower his profile” and “focus on what he’s getting paid to do.” Additional comments from Longwell follow, including Frazier asking him to get Kluwe to calm down and his impression that Kluwe had "carte blanche to go full throttle". Ryan Longwell of course was released from the team several months before Kluwe's editorial and the events described in the Deadspin article, yet he is the player whose opinion is taken to be representative of Kluwe's teammates.

Arrow The longest part of the report analyzes Kluwe's performance as a punter in 2012 and argues that he deserved to be replaced for that reason alone. It's a fairly strong case, but not overwhelmingly impressive. Stats are presented in the worst possible context, and to an extent seem to be cherry picked. The report later goes on to compare his stats to Jeff Locke's rookie year, showing that they were roughly equal, without mentioning Locke's worse performance at many of the aspects of punting (particularly directional kicking outside the numbers) that supposedly got Kluwe released.

Arrow Priefer's and Spielman's statements of having offered positive reports about Kluwe to other teams considering bringing him in for tryouts after he was released are presented without supporting evidence (the other teams refused to comment, aside from a coach for the Cleveland Browns apparently saying that Kluwe always did badly against the Bears -- it's unclear from context whether that coach testified or this was Priefer relaying that opinion). Again, the report does not mention the lack of affirmative evidence to support that that's what actually happened. And there are no denials from management that they did not make negative comments about Kluwe to other teams.

Arrow The discussion of Les Pico's role is troublesome. Kluwe and Loeffler reportedly told him about Priefer's remarks but both wanted it to be kept confidential. Pico is described as being "in a bind". He is described as informing Spielman "that there was a problem between Kluwe and Priefer, but not divulging anything specific about what Kluwe alleged". The report goes on to say: "The independent investigation found no written or verbal communication or written document—whether email, memorandum, calendar appointment, text message, voicemail, etc.—wherein Pico raised any issue regarding Kluwe to anyone."

What it *doesn't* say is what Spielman did with what Pico brought to him, or whether Spielman addressed the problem with Kluwe or Priefer or anyone. That's a pretty big gap in the story.

Arrow The summary section titled "Kluwe's release in 2013" reads like a concluding argument in a trial against him, including negative aspects of his personality ("spotlight", "attention", "inflated manner") and details of inappropriate behavior that is not directly relevant to the investigation (the offensive joke about the Sandusky situation). It includes this statement:

"The record does not support the claim that the Vikings released Kluwe because of his activism on behalf of marriage equality, but instead because of his declining punting performance in 2012 and potentially because of the distraction caused by Kluwe’s activism, as opposed to the substance of such."

As shown above, there is no evidence in the report of that distraction-vs-substance distinction related to his activism, aside from the uncorroborated self reports of Frazier, Spielman, etc.

...

Summary:

-- Priefer said one thing Kluwe alleged he said ("nuclear"). That's been confirmed, even though he initially denied it publicly and the first time he testified in front of investigators.

-- Kluwe alleges that Priefer said many other offensive things. Priefer denies it and there is no corroboration. The report suggests that that favors Priefer's account, but I think it's the opposite, given how the picture developed with the other comment.

-- The main evidence that Kluwe's activism was a distraction during the 2012 season was the testimony of Ryan Longwell, a player who was released from the team months before the events in question. The report does not mention this incongruity.

-- Kluwe alleges that coaching and management discouraged him from speaking out. Vikings staff claim they actually supported him speaking out. There is no evidence of either. The report notes the lack of evidence for Kluwe's claims but not the lack of evidence for the Vikings claims.

-- The report implicates Les Pico as the only member of the Vikings management aware of the specific nature of Priefer's remarks, who reportedly only mentioned them in vague terms to Spielman (“derogatory statements between Priefer and Kluwe.” -- interesting use of the plural there). It does not include a specific denial from Spielman that he was unaware of the remark, nor does it describe what Spielman did after Pico mentioned something even in vague terms

-- Kluwe has alleged (apparently, the details aren't in the report) that the Vikings interfered with his chances of landing a job elsewhere. Spielman and Priefer give examples of positive things they said without mentioning that they didn't say anything negative. The report doesn't comment on the lack of a denial.

-- The report includes some insulting comments about Kluwe's personality and tasteless and unacceptable acts that he performed in the locker room and among teammates. This is more or less character assassination, even if it is completely deserved.

Bottom line: nothing about the report is "independent". Which is no surprise, as the PDF was written by lawyers retained by the Vikings (not the investigators themselves), who prepared a summary for presentation at the team's request. The full report of the independent investigators is unpublished.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Schefter‏@AdamSchefter

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer suspended three games, fined after investigation into allegations of anti-gay remarks.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Priefer was fined and suspended. Many wanted him fired but if the ST doesnt improve or the same behavior persists, he may eventually get canned. Im fine giving the guy a second chance, even Kluwe didnt necessarily want him fired.

As for Kluwe getting released, there is no evidence to suggest that he was released for any other reason than performance. Its even more damning for Kluwe if there is evidence supporting that Priefer supported Kluwe post release. you would think that if he had a bias against Kluwe, he would have spoke negatively towards him with other teams. This doesnt appear to be the case.

Priefer was in the wrong, but Kluwe may have been just as insensitive with his comments directed towards Priefer. The employer is at the discretion to choose who they let go in this case, Priefer was determined to be too valuable as a coach to replace whereas Kluwe was a declining punter.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In recent days, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and his lawyer, Clayton Halunen, agitated the ongoing controversy with the team by claiming that the Vikings had reneged on a promise to make public the report of the investigation into Kluwe’s allegations of homophobic comments and retaliatory discharge for his gay-rights activism.

On July 15, Kluwe called a press conference at which he alleged that the Vikings broke their promise to release the report. The Vikings later issued a statement contending that no such promise ever was made. The Vikings apparently were accurate, because only one week earlier Kluwe’s lawyer wrote in an email to one of the lawyers investigating the situation that, indeed, no such promise was ever made. Clayton Halunen also explained to Christopher Madel in the email, a copy of which PFT and other media outlets have obtained, that the report should never be made public.

Halunen: “I’ve put a lot of thought into the Vikings making the investigation report public and the more I think about it I believe it would be a mistake for a number of reasons. First, the Vikings have never made any commitment to make any investigation report public. The only commitment made was that my client’s allegations would be thoroughly investigated. They have been. Second, there is no good reason to make the details public. They will only provide fodder for the media and pundits to attack the methodology, integrity or content to serve their own agenda. Finally, why should confidences shared by witnesses during the course of the investigation that may be very personal in nature be shared publicly? It’s seems as though public disclosure would more likely open a Pandora’s box than provide public confidence in the investigation.”

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/19/kluwes-lawyer-recently-argued-to-keep-report-private/


interesting development.
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TENINCH


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even John Kriesel was blasting Kluwe on Twitter last night and calling him a hypocrite.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kluwe: “Oooh, shall we talk about the time two very well known Vikings players were caught in a compromising situation with an underage girl? Bet you didn’t hear about that one in the news. We can do this all day, Vikings. Special teams hears *everything*. But we’ll save all that for the trial. It’ll be more fun that way.”

https://twitter.com/ChrisWarcraft/status/490297653813469184



Kluwe has always had two reasons for his suit against the Vikings, one is pragmatic and one is philosophical. the pragamatic one is for monetary damages occurred as a result of losing his job, unfairly and illegally he claims, and being blackballed so not to be able to work with another team and earn further income. his other motivation is more philosophical in nature - that of wanting to elevate social discourse to offer more protection and respect for people who are discriminated against. both require a high level of maturity to effectively argue.

but flippant public comments like the one above from Kluwe show it may more be about having fun and being a gadfly to stir up trouble for his own amusement. the comment he made about two players being with an underage girl will probably be investigated now by law enforcement, as it should be if the claim has validity, yet apparently Kluwe was only concerned about this instance if it serves to further his own purposes, as he never made it public when he first learned of it. now he offers it as leverage to further his own cause.

his ethics are whatever he decides them to be. nor has he offered an apology for mocking the Sandusky victims, yet recognition and correction of the problem was what he apparently wanted from Priefer for his poor choice of remarks.

yes, hypocrisy does appear to be rearing its ugly head.

Krauser correctly argues that these matters have no significance to whether a supervisor unfairly treated a company employee, resulting in his termination. but these matters DO matter in the larger context of society and wanting to improve it.

which was supposed to be Kluwe's aim and emphasis all along.
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perrynoid


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^One of the dangers of a "scorched earth" policy is that sometimes you get burnt by the very fires you started.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vikingsrule wrote:
As for Kluwe getting released, there is no evidence to suggest that he was released for any other reason than performance. Its even more damning for Kluwe if there is evidence supporting that Priefer supported Kluwe post release. you would think that if he had a bias against Kluwe, he would have spoke negatively towards him with other teams. This doesnt appear to be the case.


The 29 page summary produced by the Vikings lawyers doesn't include:
-- what Kluwe alleges Priefer or others said to other teams, the specific charge isn't mentioned, nor his basis for it
-- any evidence that Priefer supported Kluwe post-release, beyond Priefer's uncorroborated statement that he did
-- a denial from Priefer that he didn't say anything negative to teams about Kluwe (he could've said both positive things and negative things)
-- any statement from other teams about what Priefer or other Vikings staff said about Kluwe, good or bad

So the fact that it "doesn't appear to be the case" may be because the team's lawyers are doing their duty in presenting a report that's as favorable to their client's interests as possible.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vike daddy wrote:
In recent days, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and his lawyer, Clayton Halunen, agitated the ongoing controversy with the team by claiming that the Vikings had reneged on a promise to make public the report of the investigation into Kluwe’s allegations of homophobic comments and retaliatory discharge for his gay-rights activism.

On July 15, Kluwe called a press conference at which he alleged that the Vikings broke their promise to release the report. The Vikings later issued a statement contending that no such promise ever was made. The Vikings apparently were accurate, because only one week earlier Kluwe’s lawyer wrote in an email to one of the lawyers investigating the situation that, indeed, no such promise was ever made. Clayton Halunen also explained to Christopher Madel in the email, a copy of which PFT and other media outlets have obtained, that the report should never be made public.

Halunen: “I’ve put a lot of thought into the Vikings making the investigation report public and the more I think about it I believe it would be a mistake for a number of reasons. First, the Vikings have never made any commitment to make any investigation report public. The only commitment made was that my client’s allegations would be thoroughly investigated. They have been. Second, there is no good reason to make the details public. They will only provide fodder for the media and pundits to attack the methodology, integrity or content to serve their own agenda. Finally, why should confidences shared by witnesses during the course of the investigation that may be very personal in nature be shared publicly? It’s seems as though public disclosure would more likely open a Pandora’s box than provide public confidence in the investigation.”

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/19/kluwes-lawyer-recently-argued-to-keep-report-private/


interesting development.


Not making the report available in full detail does not mean the only summary of it should be presented by the team's lawyers, not the investigators.

It's quite possible that Kluwe was thinking the results of the report would be presented in good faith, and that would allow some of the details of the testimony (specific quotes, or the names of witnesses -- he was apparently trying to keep Loeffler anonymous) to be suppressed. On July 8th, they were working toward a settlement.

The fact that the team has leaked an email from Kluwe's lawyer to Florio is another example of litigating in the press. It would be interesting to see what the correspondence between the two sides reads like from July 8-15.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:
The fact that the team has leaked an email from Kluwe's lawyer to Florio is another example of litigating in the press.

and Kluwe hasn't been doing that...?

Shocked


the fact remains that Kluwe's lawyer (who i am gaining more respect for than Kluwe himself) stated he felt the report should remain private. yet Kluwe has argued for it to be public.

which is it? who's representing who?
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vike daddy wrote:
Krauser wrote:
The fact that the team has leaked an email from Kluwe's lawyer to Florio is another example of litigating in the press.

and Kluwe hasn't been doing that...?

Shocked


the fact remains that Kluwe's lawyer (who i am gaining more respect for than Kluwe himself) stated he felt the report should remain private. yet Kluwe has argued for it to be public.

which is it? who's representing who?


Be fair now, I didn't say Kluwe wasn't doing it too. It's obvious that he is. My point is that the team's fingerprints are on this bit of "reporting" by PFT.

You can bet that Kluwe's lawyer was representing him on July 8th when he suggested the report could be kept private, and still representing him on the 15th when he said the whole thing should be released. The devil would be in the details -- what were the terms of the settlement, who would prepare a summary, etc. -- and whether they were confident in reaching a settlement or that they'd reached an impasse.

You can bet it was never Kluwe's position that the only public record of the investigation would be the scrubbed and biased summary published yesterday.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i understand and accept all your points, Krauser.

it does appear though that you are surprised that the Vikings are fighting back so vociferously and with whatever means (public opinion, character assassination) they have at their disposal. i'm not sure why.

this is legal warfare going on, as you know, no one's going to be polite about it. particularly a corporation valued at $1 billion fighting a disgruntled former employee making barely over $1 million a year previously.

Kluwe asked for it, now he's getting it back.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vike daddy wrote:
i understand and accept all your points, Krauser.

it does appear though that you are surprised that the Vikings are fighting back so vociferously and with whatever means (public opinion, character assassination) they have at their disposal. i'm not sure why.

this is legal warfare going on, as you know, no one's going to be polite about it. particularly a corporation valued at $1 billion fighting a disgruntled former employee making barely over $1 million a year previously.

Kluwe asked for it, now he's getting it back.


I'm not surprised.

I'm not impressed with Kluwe's public persona. You know me well enough from this board to understand that. I don't like his style, but I don't expect anything else from him at this point.

I'm even less impressed that the Vikings have decided to wage a pot-meet-kettle smear campaign against Kluwe in the media, based on a biased report that includes a series of unflattering comments about his personality and descriptions of offensive behavior, and including selectively leaked information to supportive journalists like Florio. I would like to think they have higher standards than that.

If we can all agree that what Kluwe did as a supposed joke about the Sandusky situation was offensive and inappropriate, and that's supposed to be the point of including that in the Vikings summary article, why does the article not address who (if anyone) else took part in the "joke", or was aware of it at the time, or did anything to discipline Kluwe (and any others)?

The summary goes to lengths to show the Vikings good intentions in providing sensitivity training, the private views of coaches and management, and the charitable contributions and political positions of the Wilfs. Yet this episode, which is roughly as offensive as Priefer's confirmed remarks is included as a form of point scoring against Kluwe, and not as an example of a hostile or inappropriate work environment, or anything that the team should address.

In 7 months of investigating, they could've covered that too. If, as Kluwe indicated on twitter, "over half the team" participated in the "joke", and the team is committed to maintaining high personal and professional standards, why was that not investigated in any detail?

The obvious inference is that they were looking to present damaging material to use to smear Kluwe, and they're not half as sincere about their commitment to high ethical standards as they are to winning in the media and in the court of public opinion.

That's not the behavior I'd expect from a team that actually believed that Priefer's remarks were a problem that Kluwe had (helpfully?) pointed out.

It's disappointing, as a fan of the team. I wish they would've tried to do better.
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