The Minnesota Vikings said Friday that special teams coach Mike Priefer will be suspended for the opening three games of the coming season after an investigation confirmed that he made a homophobic remark to players.
The investigation, carried out by two Minneapolis attorneys, followed allegations made by former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
In a January essay for Deadspin, Kluwe contended that his 2013 release from the team was the result of his outspoken support for same-sex marriage.
He also said that former head coach Leslie Frazier pressured him to stop his public activism and that Priefer engaged in anti-gay taunts. Priefer repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations, but the team's investigation concluded that the coach made a "single homophobic statement to Kluwe."
Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler confirmed Kluwe's account that Priefer once said, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows." Priefer owned up to the remark after Loeffler's confirmation, according to a summary of the report that was released by the team.
However, the investigators concluded that Kluwe was not released due to his activism, citing testimonials from other NFL talent-evaluators who agreed that the veteran punter's form had declined in his final season with the Vikings.
"There is consistent and weighty evidence from the record, mostly from Kluwe himself, that he viewed his performance as a member of the Vikings in an inflated manner," the report said.
It continued, "No interviewed witness agreed that Kluwe had a good year in 2012."