The Minnesota Vikings will suspend special teams coordinator Mike Priefer without pay for three games this season and donate $100,000 to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups, in response to former punter Chris Kluwe’s allegations of anti-gay slurs and taunts made by Priefer.
The Vikings released Friday a summary of the investigation by outside lawyers that was initiated in January, when Kluwe first accused Priefer and other Vikings officials of punishing him for his support of gay marriage. Kluwe was let go last year, which he argued was because of his views.
The Vikings said the move was strictly performance-based after they drafted Jeff Locke in the fifth round and Kluwe was due to make $1.45 million in the 2013 season.
The Vikings said Priefer’s ban could be reduced to two games at their discretion, provided he attends individualized anti-harassment, diversity and sexual-orientation sensitivity training.
In a statement from the team, Priefer apologized to owners Mark Wilf and Zygi Wilf, the organization, the fans, his family, the LGBT community, Kluwe and "anyone else that I offended with my insensitive remark."
Kluwe, however, said Friday he still intends to sue the team for discrimination, against his gay-rights activism and agnostic beliefs, as well as defamation and wrongful interference of his contract.
Niners’ Smith sentenced to probation
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was sentenced Friday to serve three years of probation and to spend 11 days with a work crew after he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges.
The sentence came after Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Daniel Nishigaya reduced three felony counts of possessing illegal assault rifles to misdemeanors. The judge noted that Smith has no criminal record involving violence, but warned the 24-year-old football star that if he violates any of terms of his probation, he will be sent to jail for 11 days.
Smith was also told to serve 235 hours of community service and pay nearly $4,000 in fines.
The weapons charges stem from an out-of-control party at Smith’s house in 2012, where he got stabbed and two people were shot. Investigators later found three rifles in Smith’s house that were legally bought in Arizona, but are illegal in California.
The DUI charges were filed after Smith’s car smashed into a tree in San Jose last Fall. Police said his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
League to limit underclassman draft evaluations
The NFL will limit the number of underclassmen who can receive evaluations for the draft to five from a single school, although special exceptions will be allowed.
Concerned about the record 107 underclassmen who applied for this year’s draft, and with 37 of them not selected, the league’s College Advisory Committee developed new guidelines for players considering forfeiting their final years of eligibility.
Troy Vincent, the league’s head of football operations, said Friday the underclassmen will be advised on their potential to be picked in the first or second round. They also could be advised to stay in school.
Previous assessments dealt with the first through third rounds, and whether a player had no potential of being selected.
"When you look at our accuracy rate, we did a good job evaluating first- and second-round picks," Vincent told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Below — the third, fourth and fifth rounds — a lot of these players were not getting drafted. It’s better for these young men to remain a student-athlete for another year."
Only two schools, LSU and California, had more than five underclassmen in this year’s draft. Six of LSU’s seven players were chosen, while only two of the six from Cal were drafted.Next Page >
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