The Minnesota Vikings will suspend special teams coordinator Mike Priefer without pay for three games this season and donate $100,000 to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights groups, in response to former punter Chris Kluwe’s allegations of anti-gay remarks made by Priefer.
The Vikings released Friday a summary of the investigation by independent lawyers that was initiated in January, when Kluwe first accused Priefer and other Vikings officials of punishing him for his outspoken support of gay marriage. Kluwe was let go before the 2013 season, which he contended was because of his views.
The Vikings said Priefer’s ban could be reduced to two games at their discretion if he attends individualized sensitivity training.
Kluwe, however, said Friday he will still sue the team for discrimination, against his gay-rights activism and agnostic beliefs, as well as defamation and wrongful interference of his contract. His attorney, Clayton Halunen, said the complaint will be filed in Hennepin County District Court as early as Monday, seeking $10 million in damages. They announced earlier this week their impending lawsuit and did not reach a settlement agreement with the team.
“Here we have this company, this Minnesota company who’s getting $400 million out of taxpayers’ funds to build the stadium, and yet they are violating state law by engaging in discriminatory conduct, and that is unacceptable,” Halunen said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: “We support our teams enforcing their workplace policies and commend the Wilfs for doing a thorough investigation and taking appropriate steps in response to the findings.”
The Wilf brothers, in a joint statement provided by the team, said Madel and Magnuson “were in full control of the investigation at all times.” They said they’re pleased Mendelson and Prophete “concluded that there was no wrongdoing” by the Vikings in releasing Kluwe.
“We are very disappointed with some of the findings contained within the report,” the Wilfs said. “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.”
In his scathing article posted Jan. 2 on the website Deadspin.com that spelled out the allegations, Kluwe said Zygi Wilf expressed support for his gay-rights advocacy.
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Vikings suspend Priefer for 3 games
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