The Minnesota Vikings will hold a summit and fundraiser aiming to “promote LGBTQ inclusion in sports and raise money for LGBTQ groups” at the team’s headquarters on June 21, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It is believed to be the first event of its kind ever hosted by an NFL franchise.
Vikings’ settlement with Chris Kluwe aims to promote inclusion
The event is part of the settlement the Vikings made with former punter Chris Kluwe, who threatened to sue the team in 2014 due to it being, in Kluwe’s mind, an anti-LGBTQ organization. Kluwe, who has long been an outspoken advocate of the LGBTQ community, believed his support is what got him released in May 2013, and he chronicled Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer using homophobic language on several occasions in his 2014 letter to Deadspin, “I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot.” Kluwe, 36, will attend the event, and he said he hopes Priefer, who is still the team’s special teams coordinator, will, too.
What is Kluwe saying?
“We obviously had our issues a while ago, but this is our way of looking forward and trying to figure out how we make sure that we set the stage for that not to happen again,” Kluwe told the Star Tribune. “I think that it’s the ideal outcome in that, at the end of the day, hopefully this will help a lot of people that otherwise might not have gotten that help.”
Kluwe, Greg Louganis and Esera Tuaolo will speak
Roughly 200 people from the Vikings organization, other NFL teams and local colleges and high schools will be invited. Among the speakers at the event will be Kluwe, former Olympic diver Greg Louganis and former Vikings defensive end Esera Tuaolo. There will also be a silent auction to raise funds for local and national LGBTQ groups.
Vikings COO Kevin Warren said he hopes to make an event like this a recurring one in the future: “We definitely want to make sure this is not a one-time event. I can say that with confidence.”
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