MINNEAPOLIS — More than a dozen Twin Cities lawmakers are calling on the Minnesota Vikings to impose stiffer penalties on special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who admitted making anti-gay remarks in a conversation with former punter Chris Kluwe.
The Vikings announced July 18 that Priefer would be suspended without pay for three games this season and that the team would donate $100,000 to LGBT rights groups.
The penalty comes following the release of an investigation by outside lawyers that was initiated in January, when Kluwe first accused Priefer and other Vikings officials of punishing him for his public advocacy in support of same-sex marriage. Kluwe was let go last year, which he argued was because of his views.
The investigation was prompted in part after Kluwe alleged that in one team meeting Priefer said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” Priefer said he made the comment “in jest.”
On Friday, 17 Democratic lawmakers delivered a letter to Vikings owner and chairman Zygi Wilf saying the 3-game suspension is not enough.
“This remark was outrageous when you stop and think about it,” said state Sen. Scott Dibble, an openly gay lawmaker who authored Minnesota’s marriage equality bill in 2013. “Can you imagine someone saying the same thing about any other minority group? People shouldn’t joke about genocide and get away with it.”
Kluwe has threatened to sue the Vikings for discrimination because of his gay rights activism and agnostic beliefs, defamation and wrongful interference of his contract.
His attorney, Clayton Halunen, said last week that the Vikings had agreed to continue settlement discussions.