MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Vikings said there will be an independent investigation into a former player's charge the team cut him for his outspokenness on same-sex marriage.
Punter Chris Kluwe, an eight-year NFL veteran, said in a post Thursday on the Deadspin website he believes he was fired by Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer -- "a bigot who didn't agree with the cause I was working for, and two cowards, (former head Coach) Leslie Frazier and (General Manager) Rick Spielman."
Kluwe -- who was let go following the 2012 season, during which he engaged in high-profile advocacy for same-sex marriage -- said in the Deadspin commentary he was not entirely certain that is what got him fired, but he is "pretty confident it was."
Kluwe said Priefer made anti-gay comments in his presence and "said on multiple occasions that I would wind up burning in hell with the gays, and that the only truth was Jesus Christ and the Bible." He said Priefer said at one point "we should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."
Priefer said he "vehemently" denies the allegation, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals," he said. "I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member."
The Vikings said Friday they have retained two partners of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP -- former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice attorney Chris Madel -- to lead the investigation into Kluwe's charge.
"It is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations," Vikings owner and President Mark Wilf said in a statement posted on the team's website.
Kevin Warren, the team's chief legal counsel, promised the investigation will be carried out "with integrity."