The battle of official statements has begun. The Vikings already had their chance to respond to Chris Kluwe’s harsh accusations against Mike Priefer, and now Priefer himself has taken his turn. Priefer’s statement, released personally to selected beat reporters and not through the team (probably for legal reasons at this point) reads as follows:
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.
A few Viking players have taken to Twitter to voice their support for Priefer.
Punter Jeff Locke, who in all fairness was not even around when the stuff went down between Priefer and Kluwe, said “In my short time with the Vikings, Coach Priefer has treated me with respect and has helped me develop as a player and person. I have never witnessed any actions or statements by Coach Priefer similar to those described in the recent Deadspin article.”
Harrison Smith said, “Since I’ve had the privilege of playing for Mike Preifer he has been nothing but a class act coach and a respectful human being.”