The Minnesota Vikings suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for three games and plan to give $100,000 to gay and lesbian rights organizations after former punter Chris Kluwe alleged that Priefer made inappropriate comments while he was with the team.
Priefer also will be required by the team to undergo anti-harassment, diversity and sexual orientation sensitivity training, the Vikings said in a statement Friday night. The suspension could be reduced to two games if he completes the program.
"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 Vikings responded to claims by Kluwe that Priefer made homophobic remarks before Kluwe was cut by the team in May 2013.
Kluwe's lawyer, Clayton Halunen, plans to file a lawsuit alleging defamation, tortious interference, religious discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination next week against Priefer and the Vikings. Kluwe will seek $10 million in the suit that he said he'll donate to LBGTQ charities if he wins.
Kluwe contends that he was released by the Vikings because of his public comments suporting gay marriage.
"The first thing we'll request is a copy of the full report and we are going to do our best to make it public," Haulnen told USA Today.
That report was part of a six-month review directed by former Minnesota Supreme Court justice Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney Chris Madel after Kluwe made his allegations against the team in a Deadspin article in January.
The team released a 29-page memo Friday night stating there was no proof that Kluwe was cut because of his stance on gay marriage or gay rights.
"We also did not find sufficient evidence to establish that members of the Vikings organization attempted to discourage Kluwe from engaging in marriage equality or equal rights activism or that the Vikings harbored a homophobic hostile work environment," the memo said.
"The record does, however, support the conclusion that the distractions caused by the level, but not the nature, of Kluwe's activism did create some discomfort in the organization during the 2012 season in which Kluwe's punting performance was unsatisfactory to the team. The investigation materials support that the Vikings released Kluwe for football performance reasons and not his views on marriage equality."
Regarding Priefer, the report stated, "There is support in the record through (long snapper Cullen) Loeffler that Priefer made the single homophobic statement to Kluwe. ... Loeffler said that Priefer made this statement 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."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun