February 05, 2003


MORE PURPLE SHAME: An annual Minnesota Vikings charity fundraiser/"snowmobile rally" in Northern Minnesota devolved into a festival of drunkenness and debauchery that resulted in an alleged sexual assault and the arrest on DWI charges of a team vice president, the Star Tribune reports today.
Leave aside the only-in-Minnesota absurdity of a "snowmobile rally" being used to raise funds for the Vikings Childrens' Fund. Just as the team was building up its first good will in recent memory by winning their three final regular season games, they squander it by putting on this "charity bash," which was really little more than an opportunity for Vikings players and season ticket holders to get stinkin' drunk and hop on snowmobiles along with aggressive groupies. Apparently team executives got in the act too; as Dan Barreiro points out in an excellent column, DWI arrests have been a Vikings tradition since the '80s.
The Vikings organization, really, has been in free fall ever since Gary Anderson's missed field goal in January of 1999. There was the 41-0 playoff loss to the Giants, the retirement of Robert Smith, the front office's neglect of the team's defense and offensive line, the death of Korey Stringer and subsequent lawsuits, the chasing out of town of Dennis Green, the promotion of woefully underqualified Mike Tice to head coach, the continuing misbehavior of Randy Moss, owner Red McCombs' tiresome stadium demands and relocation threats, and now this latest embarrassment.
There's certainly nothing wrong with a winter party, especially in areas as ass-cold as Minnesota. But when a team organization is as PR-challenged as the Vikes have been for the entire McCombs regime, this sort of negative publicity is certainly the last thing they need.

Posted by Stephen Silver at February 5, 2003 02:35 AM
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