The Minnesota Vikings suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for three games without pay for making an offensive and inappropriate comment to former punter Chris Kluwe, the team announced on Friday. The suspension came at the conclusion of a six-month investigation into allegations by Kluwe in a Deadspin article in January.
The investigators hired were former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel, who are two partners of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., to independently investigate three allegations made by Kluwe.
The group found that Priefer did make one homophobic comment to Kluwe.
"There is support in the record through (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," the Vikings statement revealed. "There is no support in the record that Priefer made any additional statements of this nature."
Priefer's suspension can be reduced to two games if he 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. I regret what has occurred and what I said," Priefer said in a statement. "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 also announced the team would make a total donation of $100,000 to LGBT rights charitable and educational organizations.