Chris Kluwe. (Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports)
(CBS NEWS) -- Chris Kluwe, the NFL
player making explosive accusations against the Minnesota Vikings, is now represented
by legal counsel. Kluwe, a former Vikings punter, claims the team released him
last season for supporting same-sex marriage.
He released a letter online late last week alleging the Vikings cut him in May of last year after he
publicly campaigned for same sex marriage during the previous season. Now, the
Vikings organization is launching its own investigation.
CBS News' Ben Tracy sat
down with Kluwe at his home in California and asked the former punter if he has
plans to sue the Vikings.
"A lawsuit isn't currently
on the table," he said. "I have nothing against the Vikings organization
itself, it's really I just would like it to be acknowledged that I was doing my
job and then I was let go because of these people and hopefully we can make
some changes both within the Vikings and within the NFL as a whole to make sure
that it doesn't happen again."
In 2012, Minnesotans for
Marriage equality asked Kluwe, a married father of two daughters, to help them
defeat an amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage in the state. He
appeared in several ads.
Kluwe continues his
advocacy wearing an anti-bigotry hat. He says in 2012, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf
supported his activism, but head coach Leslie Fraiser asked him to stop and
special teams coach Mike Priefer became openly hostile. In his letter, Kluwe
calls Fraiser a coward and Priefer a bigot.
Kluwe told Tracy that his
letter was not harsh, but "factually accurate" and that there was a specific turning
point for him that made him realize he was in a bad environment.
"It would be when Mike
Prefier made his statement, 'You should round up all gays and put them on an island
and nuke it till it glows,' because the tone in which he said it, was very, very
serious, he meant every word," said Kluwe.
In a statement Priefer
said, "I vehemently deny...allegations made by Chris Kluwe ... I do not tolerate
discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals."
Kluwe says several
teammates witnessed Priefer's alleged remark and the Vikings have commissioned
an independent review of the allegations, but in a statement said "Any
notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on
marriage equality is entirely inaccurate ... Chris was released strictly based on
his football performance."
The 32-year-old says he
doesn't think the NFL as a whole is homophobic but he can't find a team to hire
Tracy asked Kluwe why he's
speaking out now instead of when it happened.
"That's the dammed if you,
dammed if you don't part. If I had done it when it was happening, people would
be like 'Why are you trying to bring a distraction on the team? Why are you ruining
the team's chances here? Why don't you just be quiet and play," he
said. "Then if I wait, it's the 'Why didn't you say it then? Why are you being
cowardly now? Why are you doing all this stuff? Why didn't you do it then?' And
really my response is because you know, my teammates."
Yet, so far none of those
teammates have come to his defense.
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