Vikings release: 'We do not tolerate discrimination at any level'
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Chris Kluwe on Thursday morning exercised the nuclear option. He submitted a story to Deadspin that amounts his retirment speech, in which he accused special teams coach Mike Priefer of being a "bigot" and called Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman "cowards."
Some of the quotes, if true, could prevent Priefer from landing another job. Airing the dirty laundry almost certainly will keep Kluwe from getting another job, a fact that he acknowledged in the post.
Kluwe will be on 1500ESPN at 4:00 p.m. Thursday for the Reusse & Mackey show.
The Vikings on Thursday afternoon sent out an email release in response to the article. Here is their statement:
The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe's allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter.
As an organization, the Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level.
The team has long respected our players' and associates' individual rights, and, as Chris specifically stated, Vikings ownership supports and promotes tolerance, including on the subject of marriage equality. Because he was identified with the Vikings, Chris was asked to be respectful while expressing his opinions. Team ownership and management also repeatedly emphasized to Chris that the Vikings would not impinge on his right to express his views.
Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance.
We will have further comment at the appropriate time.
Later in the afternoon, Mike Priefer emailed a statement to several media members. Here's what he said, according to the Star Tribune:
I vehemently deny today's allegations made by Chris Kluwe.
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.