US: NFL team suspends coach for 3 games after he called for gays to be nuked

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Minnesota Vikings have suspended their coach for three matches, after he allegedly made homophobic comments to a player.

Former punter Chris Kluwe earlier this year branded coach Mike Priefer a bigot, alleging that he said: “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”

Following the conclusion of a lengthy investigation, the team has opted to suspend Priefer for just three matches over the remarks.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and president Mark Wilf said in a statement: “In this instance, Coach Priefer fell short of what is expected.

“We will continue to hold all team members accountable and take the outlined critical steps to further educate everyone within our organization both individually and collectively.”

Priefer said: “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.

“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.”

In March 2013, Kluwe filed an amicus brief with fellow NFL player Brendon Ayanbadejo, urging the Supreme Court to strike down California’s Proposition 8 ban on equal marriage.

Two months later, he announced that he had been dropped by the Minnesota Vikings. In his announcement he said, “I think making people aware of an issue that is causing children to commit suicide is more important than kicking a leather ball.”

Journalists and pundits questioned at the time whether Kluwe’s dismissal was due to his vocal support for equal marriage.

Although Kluwe did not speak out immediately, in January of this year he said he was “pretty confident” that he had been sacked on account of his gay rights activism. He also detailed occurrences of homophobia from special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

Priefer denied claims that he was homophobic, saying that he has gay family members whom he loves. Kluwe admitted he had been “a little too harsh” in calling for Priefer to be sacked.