Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe doesn’t deny it could be odd if the team were to draft Michael Sam and Mike Priefer remains on the staff.
But Kluwe said he believes Minnesota could be a good landing spot for the University of Missouri defensive end who on Sunday announced publicly that he is gay, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
If drafted, Sam could be the first openly gay player in NFL history.
Kluwe, a rare outspoken proponent of gay rights in the pro football community, has accused Priefer, the team’s special teams coordinator, of making homophobic remarks in 2012 in response to Kluwe’s support of same-sex marriage. Priefer has denied the allegations, which are being investigated by the team.
But Kluwe said that overall, the Vikings atmosphere “would be good” for Sam.
“The vast majority of the coaches (never antagonized me),” Kluwe said. “Zygi (Wilf, the owner) has been supportive (of gay and lesbian rights). Obviously, my situation was isolated.”
Priefer last week was officially retained by new head coach Mike Zimmer.
Asked in a Tuesday interview with the Pioneer Press if it might be odd if Sam were to play for a staff that included Priefer, Kluwe said, “Yeah, but we’re still waiting. I don’t think any resolution has been made (on the investigation). We’ll just have to wait and see.”
A source with knowledge of the investigation told the Pioneer Press last week that Priefer’s employment could be re-evaluated after the investigation is completed, likely around the end of March.
Wilf issued a statement Monday in which he said the Vikings “commend Michael Sam for being very courageous with his openness on something of such a personal nature” and that “his comments will have no impact on how the Vikings view Michael as a football player or as a person.”
Kluwe commended Wilf for his statement.
“He cares about treating people well,” he said.