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Ex-Viking still weighing wrongful termination lawsuit

Even though the official start of the NFL season is still many months away, the Minnesota Vikings are continuing to make headlines both throughout the state and across the nation. However, this most recent round of news coverage has nothing to do with their new stadium or the impending draft, but rather with the potential wrongful termination suit filed by a former player.

Back in January, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe published a widely discussed article on the sports news website Deadspin alleging that he wasn’t released by the team last May for football-related reasons, but rather because of his open and honest support for same-sex marriage.

In addition to this bombshell, Kluwe also claimed that the current Vikings special-teams coordinator had previously made homophobic remarks and that his complaints about this coordinator may have played a role in his release. 

In recent developments, Kluwe indicated last Friday that while he has not discounted the possibility of filing of a wrongful termination suit against his former team, he has no plans to do so in the immediate future.

The remarks came after Kluwe learned from his attorney that the statue of limitations for filing a wrongful termination suit — which he believed would have run by May 6, the one-year anniversary of his release — had actually been extended by the team.

As it turns out, the Vikings are still conducting an internal investigation into the matter and have indicated that it should be completed within the month. However, since this would push the investigation’s completion date past May 6, the team reached a statue of limitations tolling agreement whereby Kluwe wouldn’t be required to sue by next Tuesday.

The early indications from Kluwe are that he will likely pursue a wrongful termination suit if the internal investigation results are unsatisfactory.

“It would obviously be wrongful termination,” he said. “A direct supervisor made homophobic remarks repeatedly, and it was an atmosphere that was not conducive to a good working environment, and I ended up getting fired from the team despite the fact that my performance (in 2012) had been as good as the previous years.”

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. Stay tuned for updates …

Remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you believe that you have unfairly terminated, and would like to learn more about your rights and your options. 

Source: The Pioneer Press, “Chris Kluwe lawsuit against Vikings still possible but isn’t imminent,” Chris Tomasson, April 25, 2014

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