Vikings Suspend Priefer Three Games After Investigation Into Kluwe's Allegations
The Vikings on Friday "suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for three games following a six-month investigation into accusations made by former punter Chris Kluwe that Priefer made anti-gay remarks in a team setting" during the '12 season, according to Tesfatsion & Vensel of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Priefer, who "denied the remarks earlier this year, apologized Friday in a statement." He also must "attend sensitivity training, and if he does, his suspension could be reduced to two games." In a 29-page document summarizing the findings of the Vikings’ independent investigation, law firm Littler Mendelson, "hired by the Vikings to assess the report, concluded that Priefer made an anti-gay comment to players, although there was no record of his having made any other such comments." However, the "showdown between Kluwe and the Vikings is not over." Kluwe on Friday said that because the Vikings "did not release the investigation’s full report, he plans to file a discrimination lawsuit against the Vikings early next week seeking damages in excess" of $10M. The investigation began "after Kluwe’s initial accusation in a January article he wrote" on Deadspin.com. Kluwe in his article said that Priefer before a special teams meeting said, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows." Vikings co-Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf in a statement said, "We are very disappointed with some of the findings contained within the report. 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" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/19). In St. Paul, Chris Tomasson noted Kluwe and his attorney, Clayton Halunen, had "proposed a settlement to the Vikings, which included Priefer being suspended four to eight games, the full report being made public and the Vikings donating $1 million to LGBT groups." The Vikings have "agreed to donate $100,000, but Kluwe and Halunen both called that amount unacceptable" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/19).
RIGHT AND WRONG: ESPN.com's Ben Goessling noted NFL Senior VP/Communications Greg Aiello "praised" the Wilfs "for ordering the investigation of Kluwe's allegations." Aiello in an e-mail wrote, "We support our clubs enforcing their workplace policies and commend the Wilfs for doing a thorough investigation and taking appropriate steps in response to the findings" (ESPN.com, 7/19). THE MMQB's Peter King writes "scorched earth" would "best describe the approach of Kluwe in the wake of the Vikings-issued report that found, basically, one confirmation of a Mike Priefer knock on gays and no evidence to suggest Kluwe was waived for his political views or outspokenness." Kluwe is a "smart and engaging person, and he fiercely defends the rights of the oppressed." King: "But I do not see how he justifies poking fun at strength coach Tom Kanavy, who formerly worked at Penn State, by cutting out the seat of his pants and, in an apparent joking way, saying he was a Penn State victim and telling Kanavy to stay away from him while his buttocks were exposed." Kluwe "so stridently fought for the right side on other issues, like gay marriage, and it’s just so sordid to join the crowd in making fun of a pedophile" (MMQB.SI.com, 7/21).