Chris Kluwe apologizes on SI Now for Sandusky jokes

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Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe told SI Now on Monday that he apologizes if he offended anyone with a joke he reportedly made while with the team.

According to conditioning coach and Penn State alumnus Tom Kanavy, who was interviewed by the Vikings for a six-month investigation made into what Kluwe calls his 'wrongful termination,'  Kluwe tore a hole in the back of his shorts and said he was a victim of convicted child molester and former PSU assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

"I realize that a lot of people found my joke in poor taste, which I’m sure was the entire purpose of the Vikings leaking it," Kluwe told SI Now. "Character assassination is a tried-and-true tactic for any sort of harassment lawsuit. But it’s something where I was making fun of the culture at Penn State, and if it offended people, then I apologize. I'm sorry for that.

"But to make it seem like I was making fun of victims of child abuse, I mean, that is horrific. And really that kind of upsets me from a personal perspective, that the Vikings would try and spin it that way, because that’s insulting." 

Kluwe said Friday he intended to sue the Vikings after the full report on the investigation was not made public. After a partial version of the report was released, Kluwe's lawyer described it as a "scrubbed version of what actually happened."

Kluwe alleges Minnesota cut him in May 2013 due to his vocal support of same-sex marriage. The Vikings said Friday that there was no evidence that Kluwe was released for anything other than "football reasons."

The organization suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer three games on Friday night, but his suspension can be reduced to two games if he completes sensitivity training.

Kluwe said Priefer's punishment was not severe enough.

"No, I think it was a slap on the wrist," Kluwe said. "And really, when you look at what the NFL has done in terms of discipline for violating the code of conduct, as well as the Vikings – they have their own code of conduct. I mean, players are suspended for four games for having a DUI or having problems with street drugs. And to say that somehow marijuana is worse than making a comment like coach Priefer did and then lying about it …"

Kluwe was also asked about comments former Buccaneers and Colts coach Tony Dungy made in Tampa Tribune article. Dungy said he wouldn't have picked Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, because it would be a distraction. (On Tuesday, Dungy clarified those comments in a statement.)

"When it comes to someone who is a homosexual football player, he’s worried that something will happen in the locker room," Kluwe said. "I mean, No, I think it’s cowardly to say that, because it’s your job to make sure that nothing happens in the locker room. That’s exactly why you’re the head coach, in order to take care of something like that.

"And to try and pawn it off and say, ‘Well, I think it'll be too much of a distraction,’ that really is just an underhanded way of saying, ‘I don’t want to deal with a homosexual player on my team and I’m going to do whatever possible not to have to deal with that situation.’"

- Chris Johnson