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Vikings Coach Mike Priefer Back At Practice Following Suspension for Homophobic Comments

Vikings Coach Mike Priefer Back At Practice Following Suspension for Homophobic Comments


After a two-game suspension and sensitivity training for his antigay comments, special teams coach Mike Priefer has returned to his post.

Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer returned to work this week, after being suspended by the team for the first two games of the NFL regular season. Priefer was at the center of the Vikings' antidiscrimination controversy this year, after an investigation confirmed former punter Chris Kluwe's claims that Priefer made antigay remarks during Vikings practice and in meetings. These remarks came after Kluwe wrote a scathing open letter to Maryland State Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr., who demanded Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti "take the necessary action" to inhibit Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo from voicing his supporting for gay marriage and advocating LGBT rights.

Initially, Priefer was suspended for three games, but the team chose to reduce the ban to two games after Priefer completed appropriate sensitivity training.

"I don't know if I've changed, but I think I have more awareness of my surroundings and other people around me. I think I'm a better man because of it," Priefer said at team headquarters on Thursday.

The 1-1 Vikings could certainly use the help, after a 30-7 beatdown served up by the Patriots last Sunday. The team is also without star running back Adrian Peterson, who is involved in a highly publicized controversy of his own.

"I'm proud that Mike did the things that he had to do," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said earlier this week. "I'm proud that we didn't ruin a guy's career because he made a mistake. I'm glad that we were able to stand by him. I appreciate all his hard work and the things that he has done during these two weeks, we're glad to have him back."

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