MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings and former punter Chris Kluwe said Tuesday they reached a settlement averting a lawsuit over Kluwe's claim that the team wrongfully released him last year because of his outspoken support for same-sex marriage rights.
Under the deal, the Vikings will donate an undisclosed sum of money to five gay rights-related charities over the next five years. Kluwe said he won't receive any money as part of the settlement.
"This will help a lot of people that really do need that help," Kluwe said. He said he was convinced the Vikings and owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were committed to the cause, and committed to being leaders on this issue in the NFL.
"They want to make this a reality where there is no discrimination in sports, there is no homophobia," Kluwe said at a news conference.
The Vikings said in a statement that the deal resolves all issues related to Kluwe's departure from the team and his accusations that a coach made anti-gay comments. Zygi Wilf said he wished Kluwe the best.
"In regards to this matter, our focus remains on maintaining a culture of tolerance, inclusion and respect, and creating the best workplace environment for our players, coaches and staff," Wilf said in the statement.
Under the settlement, the Vikings also agreed to require all team employees to undergo sensitivity training four times a year. The team will also host a national symposium in Minneapolis next spring that will address LGBT issues and professional athletics, said Kluwe's attorney, Clayton Halunen.
In addition to his wrongful termination claim, Kluwe alleged that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made anti-gay comments and tried to agitate him with homophobic language. Last month, the team issued a 29-page summary of a report that found no merit to Kluwe's claim that he was wrongfully dismissed, but it confirmed that Priefer made anti-gay remarks during practice. The Vikings suspended Priefer for three games and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.
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