An NFL coach accused of using anti-gay slurs in the presence of a former player and LGBT advocate is denying the allegations.
Mike Priefer, the special teams coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, provided a statement Thursday to radio station KFAN in which he disputed the claims by Chris Kluwe, a former punter for the team and an outspoken gay rights advocate.
“I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe.
I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member.
The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way. As a coach, I have always created an accepting environment for my players, including Chris, and have looked to support them both on and off the field.
The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family. While my career focus is to be a great professional football coach, my number one priority has always been to be a protective husband and father to my wife and children.
I will continue to work hard for the Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf family and all of our loyal fans.”
Kluwe made the claims in an explosive piece that was published Thursday on Deadspin. The former Viking alleged that his public campaigning against a same-sex marriage ban in Minnesota played a role in his release from the team.
Kluwe said the team’s former coach Leslie Frazier and the franchise’s general manager Rick Spielman approached his activism like “cowards,” but the account was even more damning of Priefer.
According to Kluwe, Priefer made a number of anti-gay remarks during team activities and once said that “[w]e should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”
The Vikings said Thursday that Kluwe never told the team about his allegations.