Minnesota special teams coach Mike Priefer has been suspended three games by the Vikings following an investigation into allegations made by former punter Chris Kluwe that the coach made homophobic remarks.
An independent investigation, commissioned by the Vikings to look into former player’s claims, found Priefer had made a "single homophobic statement to Kluwe."
Priefer apologized in a statement released by the Vikings on Friday and will have the opportunity to reduce his suspension to two games if he attends anti-harassment, diversity and sensitivity training. The team also announced it will donate $100,000 to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups.
Kluwe wrote a column on Deadspin.com in January claiming that after a letter he had written in support of same-sex marriage had gone viral, Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier had tried to convince him to keep quiet about his support and his boss, Priefer, had begun disparaging him for his beliefs and using homophobic language.
Kluwe also claimed his activism in support of gay marriage, not his performance, is what led to the termination of his contract following the 2012 season.
However, the investigation did not find sufficient evidence that members of the Vikings management had tried to discourage Kluwe from speaking out on his beliefs, but it did note his teammates and coaches were concerned about the "distraction" being caused by his actions.
Kluwe has said his numbers for the 2012 season were in line with his career averages, but support for the punter in the locker room was nowhere to be found.
“No interviewed witness agreed that Kluwe had a good year in 2012,” the report said.
Kluwe’s release, it said, was based on declining performance and his salary of $1.3 million for the coming year as well as concerns about a previous knee injury and declining leg strength.
The Vikings signed fifth-rounder Jeff Locke -- another former UCLA Bruin like Kluwe -- to replace him for a mere $405,000.
Despite the findings, Kluwe said Friday he still intends to sue the Vikings for discrimination and defamation and will seek $10 million in damages.
The Associated Press contributed to this reportCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times