Kicker Blair Walsh said Thursday in a statement to reporters that he “personally can attest to [special teams coordinator Mike Priefer’s] integrity and character,” which he said is “totally not compatible” with the allegations former punter Chris Kluwe raised in a piece published Thursday on Deadspin.
Priefer on Thursday flatly denied Kluwe’s allegations that he made anti-gay remarks during team activities. In his account, Kluwe wrote that Preifer said at one point “[w]e should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”
Kluwe also wrote in the piece that he believed his outspoken LGBT advocacy led to his release from the team.
Walsh’s statement below, as quoted by the Star-Tribune:
I have been a member of the Minnesota Vikings for 2 years. I want to start off by saying I have the utmost respect for Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier and Mike Priefer. All three, are good men.
I have had countless conversations and interactions with Coach Priefer, and I personally can attest to his integrity and character. His professionalism in the workplace is exemplary, and I firmly believe that my teammates would whole-heartedly agree. The allegations made today are reprehensible and totally not compatible with what Mike Priefer stands for.
As we all know, in the NFL you must perform at the highest level and meet the performance expectations of your coaches, management, and ownership. If these expectations, based upon past performance AND future potential for excellence, are not met, your NFL career with that team, is over. I believe this was the case with Chris, and it is unfair to think that his release was anything other than football related.
In my time here at Minnesota, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier have exemplified true leadership. Contrary to Chris’ statements, they have promoted a workplace environment that was conducive for success. At no time did I ever feel suppressed or that I could not be myself.
I firmly stand behind Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier, and Mike Priefer.