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Minnesota Lawmakers Urge Vikings To Issue Harsher Punishment To Anti-Gay Coach

A group of 18 Minnesota lawmakers have written a letter to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf asking him to subject homophobic coach Mike Priefer to penalties harsher than those handed down last week following an investigation initiated by anti-gay claims made by former kicker Chris Kluwe. Priefer was suspended for three games and ordered to donate money to LGBT organizations. The Democratic politicians have called those disciplinary actions "inadequate" and also want the team to make the entire investigation public.

LawKARE 11, who interviewed one of those lawmakers, Rep. Frank Hornstein, reports:

"Racism, homophobia, discrimination in sports in unacceptable no matter where it comes from," Hornstein remarked. "And again, this should be taken much more seriously by the Vikings organization."

The letter was penned by Sen. Scott Dibble, a gay Minneapolis legislator and chief author of the Freedom to Marry Act in the Senate in 2013, which opened the door to same-sex marriages in Minnesota.

"This remark was outrageous when you stop and think about it," Dibble told KARE. "Can you imagine someone saying the same thing about any other minority group? People shouldn't joke about genocide and get away with it."

In his letter to Wilf, Dibble pointed out that L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA and ordered to sell his team for making racially charged remarks to a female friend.

The letter reads in part:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511e54061970cIt bears remembering that the taxpayers are contributing nearly a half billion dollars to build a new stadium for the Vikings, allowing a considerable boost in its revenues. It is also important to make note of the fact that Minnesota taxpayers are being asked yet again to contribute to the bottom line of an already very profitable industry with $10 billion in revenues, in the form of continuing a sales tax exemption on ticket purchases for the NFL’s 2018 Super Bowl. In light of this enormous public effort, it is imperative that your organization be held accountable. This is especially true when it would seem that Vikings leadership is turning a blind eye to such egregious misconduct and seems determined to remain opaque to the very public which has invested so much in the success of your team. 

You can read the full letter here.

The Vikings issued the following response:

As a result of the findings, we have taken the appropriate actions to hold individuals accountable and to ensure we continue to have a workplace environment that respects tolerance, diversity and inclusion. We have addressed this matter completely and are unable to comment further due to pending litigation.

Watch the KARE 11 news segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chris Kluwe Outraged Over Light Punishment for Homophobic Vikings Coach, Still Plans to Sue: VIDEO

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Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is outraged over the punishment meted out by the team to special teams coach Mike Priefer following the results of an investigation in to Kluwe's claims of homophobic remarks and anti-gay bias by the team.

Priefer was suspended for 3 games and ordered to make a donation to LGBT organizations.

Kluwe spoke to KMSP about the investigation.

Said Kluwe:

"Players who get caught smoking weed or DUI get 4 games, and you're telling me the guy who made a comment like 'let's round up all the gays put them on an island nuke it till it glows' -- he's only going to get a slap on the wrist? ... I think he's probably sorry that all of this ever happened. I don't think he's truly sorry because in the report he kind of backs his way and says yeah, I kind of said it...The NFL is a league where you can get redemption for killing someone, for beating your wife in an elevator, for driving drunk, for a whole variety of things but when you speak out for civil rights, that's the one thing you cannot get redeemed for."

Kluwe says he still plans to sue the organization and his attorney is still requesting the full 150-page investigation.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Vikings Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer Suspended, Fined Following Kluwe Investigation

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Mike  Priefer, the current special teams coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, has been suspended from three games and made to donate $100,000 to organizations dedicated to the advancement of LGBT people. This follows the closing of an investigation into former kicker Chris Kluwe’s allegations that Priefer played a large role in fostering a homophobic environment for the team off the field.

201401021617586597566-p5"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." Priefer said in a press conference. "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."

Kluwe, an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, claims that the termination of his contract with the Vikings came as a result of his gay activism. Were the investigation into Prifer’s conduct to come up clean, Kluwe and his lawyer asserted, they would not hesitate to proceed with a formal lawsuit against the team.

"There were numerous occasions that [Priefer] said that I would burn in hell with the gays," Kluwe said in a conference last Friday. "I think [Priefer's suspension] is completely unacceptable. It doesn't change anything with my lawsuit. We're going to (sue) for the maximum."

Following the Vikings’ refusal to make public the investigation’s findings last week, Kluwe and his representation followed through, stating that their suit would be filed next week.

“Oh, and in case anyone thinks this is some sort of cash grab, we'll be going for max damages and all money I get will go to LBGTQ charities.” Kluwe asserted via Twitter. “This is not about the money for me. This is about doing what's right.”

Check out a video of Kluwe speaking last week at a press conference about the Vikings' efforts to conceal the investigation, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chris Kluwe to Sue Minnesota Vikings for Withholding Results of Investigation into Homophobia Claims

Back in January, the Minnesota Vikings announced it had hired attorneys to lead an investigation into claims by former punter Chris Kluwe, who said in an article published on Deadspin that he was released from the team because of his gay activism.

KluweKluwe also claimed that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer unleashed a homophobic rant in his presence, saying, "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."

At the time, Kluwe said that he would sue the Vikings if the investigation turned up clean. But today Kluwe and his attorneys announced they would be suing the team for refusing to release the results of the recently-completed investigation, Pioneer Press reports:

"After the Vikings were given the investigative materials from Magnuson and Madel, in order to further maintain objectivity and integrity, the team engaged a nationally-prominent law firm -- Littler Mendelson P.C. -- to evaluate employment law matters and provide findings and recommendations to the Vikings," according to the team's Tuesday statement. "Those recommendations are to be provided to the team this week."

Kluwe and Halunen held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce the lawsuit and denounce the team for reneging on what they said was a promise to make the investigation public.

Halunen said he was contacted by Vikings' representatives on Monday and was told they do not intend to make the report available either to Kluwe or to the public.

"At this point we have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the Vikings," Halunen said.

Kluwe told reporters that if the investigation results are released he will reconsider the lawsuit.


Vikings Investigation Into Chris Kluwe's Allegations Of Homophobia Nearing Close

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Earlier this year former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe alleged that his contract was not renewed with the team because of his public statements in support of same-sex marriage. The Vikings have stated that their decision to let Kluwe go was due entirely to his performance on the field, a statement that Kluwe claims is false. Kluwe previously stated that were an independent investigation not to corroborate his claims, he would likely sue the Vikings. SB Nation reports that said investigation is nearing completion and the findings are soon to be released.

As The Viking Age points out, journalist Mike Freeman recently tweeted, "I'm hearing Chris Kluwe report could be released very soon and report is favorable to Kluwe":

“Favorable to Kluwe” is vague enough that it could mean a lot of things, but we have to assume that any report generally favorable to Kluwe is going to be generally not-favorable to [Vikings special coordinator, Mike] Priefer. And since Priefer stands to lose more than anyone else if Kluwe’s allegations are found to have merit…well, let’s just say if there’s anyone out there who has reason to be tense, it’s Priefer.

Kluwe made a name for himself in the movement for marriage equality, coming to the defense of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a fellow advocate for gay marriage. Together Kluwe and Ayanbadejo filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in relation to Hollingsworth v. Perry, as a means to express their shared opposition to California’s Prop 8.


Is the NFL Ready to Accept Michael Sam? - VIDEO

Zeigler

On This Week, George Stephanopoulos asks Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler, NFL punter Chris Kluwe, and Pete Thamel, the author of the disappointing Sports Illustrated article which featured 8 anonymous NFL execs discussing the NFL's lack of readiness for an openly gay player, what Michael Sam will face in the coming weeks.

And Outsports' Cyd Zeigler expresses his indignation that the media is responsible for fabricating the "struggle" Sam supposedly faces to get into the league.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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