The Minnesota Vikings released a statement Thursday evening in response to former punter Chris Kluwe's implication that he was released by the team due to his activism in support of LGBT rights. In an article written for Deadspin, Kluwe called head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman cowards, and special teams coach Mike Priefer a bigot.
The Vikings acknowledged Kluwe's allegations:
The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe's allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter.
As an organization, the Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level. The team has long respected our players' and associates' individual rights, and, as Chris specifically stated, Vikings ownership supports and promotes tolerance, including on the subject of marriage equality. Because he was identified with the Vikings, Chris was asked to be respectful while expressing his opinions. Team ownership and management also repeatedly emphasized to Chris that the Vikings would not impinge on his right to express his views.
Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance.
We will have further comment at the appropriate time.
During his time with the Vikings, Kluwe became well known for being outspoken about social issues on social media. In his Deadspin piece, he alleged that Priefer made several openly homophobic statements to Kluwe, including: "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."
According to Outsports, Priefer has already released statement saying he does 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."