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Former Viking punter Kluwe hires his own lawyer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has hired an attorney to represent him as the team investigates his allegations of a coach verbally attacking gays.

Kluwe, away from the Vikings for a year and unable to find another football team that will take him, said last week that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made disparaging remarks against gays. The punter said that the coach made those comments in front of him because he is a strong gay-rights supporter.

Priefer issued a strong statement denying the allegations.

The Vikings announced last week that they hired attorneys, including former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, to investigate the issue.

“I want the truth to come out from the investigation, not in litigation,” Kluwe said.

He hired Clayton Halunen, whose law firm has offices in Minneapolis and Chicago. Halunen will work with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Kluwe said, and the Vikings deny, that he lost his job because of his pro-gay rights comments.

"It’s obvious to me, as it should be to most thinking people familiar with the situation, that Chris paid a steep price for speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage rights in 2012 while he was a Vikings player,” Halunen said.

The Vikings said Kluwe was released based on his performance on the field, not his gay-rights beliefs.

- Minnesota Capital Bureau

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