Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer on Thursday denied allegations by former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe that he was a bigot who made threatening and homophobic comments that Vikings players had said were “messed up.”
“I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe,” Priefer said in a statement to KFAN. “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 wrote that he was an “NFL player until I was fired by two cowards and a bigot Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot.” Kluwe has been vocal in his support for gay marriage and said even though he does not know whether the Vikings let him go because of those beliefs, he was “confident” that that was the case. The former punter said coaches told him to keep quiet on the matter and he refused to do so.
Kluwe accused Priefer of saying, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” He said the “room grew intensely quiet, and none of the players said a word for the rest of the meeting” after remarks that Kluwe said he found to be threatening.
Kluwe said the “one thing I hope to achieve from sharing this story, it’s to make sure that Mike Priefer never holds a coaching position again in the NFL, and ideally never coaches at any level.”
“It’s inexcusable that someone would use his status as a teacher and a role model to proselytize on behalf of his own doctrine of intolerance, and I hope he never gets another opportunity to pass his example along to anyone else,” Kluwe wrote, making it clear he wrote the article to slam Priefer, who is reportedly the only in-house coach being considered for the Vikings head coaching job.