Minnesota Vikings coach Priefer to be suspended for confirmed homophobic remarks

Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer

In a statement released late Friday evening (good way to bury the story), the Minnesota Vikings announced special teams coach Mike Priefer will be suspended for three games in the coming season for confirmed homophobic remarks.

The comments were brought to light by former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who said his activism on behalf of LGBT rights made his superiors at the Vikings unhappy, leading to his release.  Kluwe waited until  the end of the football season to share his thoughts on the homophobia he felt he saw and heard while a member of the Vikings team.

Kluwe’s accusations were responsible for a months long investigation into whether a hostile or homophobic environment existed in the Vikings training sessions.

In a January essay for Deadspin, Kluwe contended that his 2013 release from the team was the result of his outspoken support for same-sex marriage.

He also said that former head coach Leslie Frazier pressured him to stop his public activism and that Priefer engaged in anti-gay taunts. Priefer repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations, but the team’s investigation concluded that the coach made a “single homophobic statement to Kluwe.”

Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler confirmed Kluwe’s account that Priefer once said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” Priefer owned up to the remark after Loeffler’s confirmation, according to a summary of the report that was released by the team.

Priefer’s penalty could be reduced to two suspended games should he choose to attend sensitivity training. In addition, the team also announced there will be a $100,000 donation to LGBT rights charities.

It should be underlined that when Preifer’s comments first came to light this past spring, he adamantly denied making them:

“I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe.

“I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.

“The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way. As a coach, I have always created an accepting environment for my players, including Chris, and have looked to support them both on and off the field.
The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family.”

Now, confronted with Loeffler’s confirmation, Priefer said, “If [Loeffler] remembers me saying something on the practice field, I am not going to disagree with it.” 

How light-weight and dodgy is that?

Kluwe maintains that the Vikings promised to release the full investigation and not merely the summary provided.  Through Twitter he’s made clear he intends to file a lawsuit against the team for $10 million, which all proceeds going to charity.

You can read the 29-page report of the investigation below: