Vikings suspend coach Mike Priefer for homophobic comment - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Vikings suspend 'extremely sorry' coach Priefer 3 games for homophobic comment

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

The Minnesota Vikings have suspended special team coordinator Mike Priefer for 3 regular season games for making homophobic comments reported in a Deadspin.com article by former punter Chris Kluwe. The 3-game suspension may be reduced to 2 games if Priefer completes individualized anti-harassment, diversity and sexual-orientation sensitivity training.

"I owe an apology to many people -- the Wilf family, the Minnesota Vikings organization and fans, my family, the LGBT community, Chris Kluwe and anyone else that I offended with my insensitive remark," Priefer said in a statement. "I regret what has occurred and what I said. I am extremely sorry but I will learn from this situation and will work on educating others to create more tolerance and respect."

The punishment was announced as the Vikings released their summary of the results of an outside investigation into the allegations in Kluwe's Jan. 2 Deadspin article. Kluwe had pushed for a 4 to 8 game suspension for Priefer, and a thorough, detailed, public report of their findings.

"A page and a half," Kluwe posted on Twitter, referring to the summary released by the Vikings. "The NSA is wildly applauding the Vikings' definition of 'open and transparent' right now."

In the Deadspin article, Kluwe accused Priefer of making homophobic remarks to him and other Vikings players, even berating him in front of his teammates over his support of same sex marriage legislation. He also accused the Vikings of cutting him from the roster for being an outspoken advocate of gay rights.

The findings

A single homophobic statement from Mike Priefer toward Kluwe was confirmed by another player, long snapper Cullen Loeffler. He said Priefer made the comment after becoming frustrated that Loeffler and Kluwe were not focused on football during practice. "There is no support in the record that Priefer made any additional statements of this nature," the report said.

With regard to Kluwe's involvement in the campaign for same-sex marriage in Minnesota, the investigation determined
Vikings players and management "were concerned about the distraction that Kluwe’s activism was creating, as opposed to the nature and content of his activism."

Former NFL general manager Jerry Angelo and 17-year NFL punter Craig Hentrich analyzed Kluwe’s performance as a punter during the 2012 season. The investigation found "no interviewed witness agreed that Kluwe had a good year in 2012," and that his age and salary were also factors in his release from the team.

LGBT donation

The Vikings will make $100,000 in donations to LGBT rights organizations, which is one-tenth of the $1 million donation Kluwe requested from the team.

"We are very disappointed with some of the findings contained within the report," owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. "As we have said in the past, we consistently strive to create – and believe we have – a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for our players, coaches and staff, and we strongly disassociate the club from the statement that Coach Priefer made. Coach Priefer is a good man, and we know that he deeply regrets the comment. We do not believe that this error in judgment should define him."

Lawsuit coming

Chris Kluwe plans to file a lawsuit against the Vikings, which could seek damages of up to $10 million. Kluwe has vowed to donate "every cent" of any potential judgement to LGBT rights groups.

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