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.
KARE 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:
It 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.
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