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Vikings suspend Priefer, Kluwe vows to file lawsuit


The Minnesota Vikings have suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for three games, without pay, following an investigation into allegations made by former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

In an article published by Deadspin on Jan. 2, Kluwe accused Priefer of making homophobic comments and also suggested the team released him over his views on LGBT rights.

The Vikings released an investigation summary of Kluwe's accusations Friday evening. The summary was released after the former punter vowed to file a lawsuit against the team, earlier in the afternoon.

Priefer's three-game suspension could be reduced to two games provided that he attend individualized anti-harassment, diversity and sexual-orientation sensitivity training.

Priefer issued an apology as part of the team's statement.

"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. I am extremely sorry but I will learn from this situation and will work on educating others and create more tolerance and respect."

The Vikings also released a 29-page report from Donald S. Prophete of the Littler Mendelson law firm. The Vikings say Prophete was retained to assess and review an investigation conducted by former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson and attorney Chris Madel on Kluwe's accusations.

The Vikings did release portions of the findings of the Magnuson and Madel investigation. The summary indicates that it wasn't Kluwe's activism for marriage equality that led to his release, but a decline in his punting performance in 2012.

"No interviewed witness agreed that Kluwe had a good year in 2012...There is also the issue of Kluwe's age (31) and salary ($1.3 million) in 2012 and slated salary of $1.4 million in 2013. Several coaching staff members noted that Kluwe's age, previous knee injury and leg strength showed a punter in decline. Also, the Vikings were able to sign drafted punter (Jeff) Locke for $405,000, less than one third of Kluwe's scheduled 2013 salary."

The Vikings did not release the full report of the investigation, which was one of the main terms of a settlement that Kluwe had been pushing for.

According to the Pioneer Press, Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen said he had been notified that the Vikings would not accept the terms of that proposed settlement.

The Pioneer Press reports Kluwe had also asked the Vikings to suspend Priefer for between four and eight games and donate $1 million to LGBT groups.

According to Pro Football Talk, Halunen said they will "sue for the works," and that the damages claim will exceed $10 million.

The former Vikings punter said he will sue for religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, defamation and tortuous interference.

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