Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

Opinion: Vikings debacle just the latest

October 20, 2005

As a Minnesotan, I'm used to having the Vikings embarrass me on and off the field, but this is ridiculous.

The Vikings are 1-4 on the season, but that's the least of their problems right now. As many as 15 players might be under criminal investigation after the now infamous "sex cruise" on Lake Minnetonka on Oct. 6.

For those of you who missed the lurid details, here's a recap.

During their bye week, some of the Vikings apparently flew in some prostitutes from out of state, possibly Atlanta, and took these women on a charter cruise on Lake Minnetonka, in the middle of the Twin Cities.

Once on the lake, the players got a bit "rowdy," engaging in public drunkenness and public sex, apparently within view of the shore. As if that weren't bad enough, there are reports that some of the players "aggressively propositioned" some of the female crew members on the ship.

The poor Vikes had their cruise cut short a couple of hours, and the local county attorney is investigating to see what charges, if any, will be filed.

To be fair, some of the Vikings reportedly tried to defend the female crew members against the advances of their more boorish teammates. Still, the incident only served to reinforce a feeling that has been creeping into my gut more and more lately.

There are a lot of professional athletes out there who are completely out of touch with reality.

These guys' pocketbooks and egos have gotten so overblown that they seem to think that their every whim should be granted immediately. Consequently, they have no qualms about giving in to their base, animal instincts without any consideration of the consequences.

How else can one explain the behavior we've seen from players in the past few years?

A fan throws a drink at you and an appropriate response is to storm the bleachers and pummel whoever you think might have done it (Pacers vs. Pistons brawl last year).

You testify in front of Congress that you never used steroids, then continue using even though your league has initiated random testing (Rafael Palmeiro, this past baseball season).

You bring prostitutes on a charter cruise, then decide to treat the cruise employees poorly (the current Vikings debacle).

Are these actions a rational person would even consider?

No, but these guys aren't thinking rationally. They're seeing themselves as untouchable, demi-gods, the closest thing to royalty in a nation without a monarchy.

There are times when I catch myself wishing I were writing about these guys, covering the glamorous world of professional sports. But then something like this happens, and we all get to see the grime beneath the glamour.

Maybe the quiet life of watching Basehor-Linwood High School isn't so bad.

The kids I cover are just regular, rational people. They work for everything they get and they don't brag about it.

I have yet to see a BLHS celebration that includes a Sharpie, or someone pretending to moon the opposing fans. And that's the way it should be.

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