- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2014

Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer has apologized to the LGBT community after the team announced his suspension for the first three games of the coming season because of a homophobic comment he made to players.

The Vikings announced the punishment Friday after an investigation, carried out by two Minneapolis attorneys, concluded the coach made a “single homophobic statement” to Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, Talking Points Memo reported.

Mr. Priefer reportedly once said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” He admitted to making the comment after Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler confirmed it, according to a summary of the report that was released by the team.

Mr. Kluwe claimed in a January essay for Deadspin that his 2013 release from the Vikings was the result of his gay marriage advocacy, Talking Points Memo reported.

The team denied that claim, citing testimonials from other NFL talent evaluators, but agreed that the single comment was grounds for suspension without pay.

The Vikings will also donate $100,000 to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups, the Associated Press reported.

“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,” Mr. Priefer said in a statement issued by the team.

“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 to create more tolerance and respect,” he said.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said that Mr. Priefer’s suspension could be reduced by one game if the coach “satisfactorily” completes anti-harassment, diversity and sexual-orientation sensitivity training.

Mr. Kluwe isn’t happy with the findings, and his lawyer Clayton Halunen told USA Today that his client will file a lawsuit next week seeking $10 million in damages in Minnesota court naming Mr. Priefer and the Vikings organizations as defendants.

Mr. Kluwe said he would donate any money gained in the lawsuit to charity.

“They had that opportunity [to settle],” Mr. Halunen told USA Today. “They didn’t take advantage of it. There will be litigation. The first thing we’ll request is a copy of the full report and we are going to do our best to make it public.”