Thursday, October 13, 2005

Because one can't ignore the Vikings story no matter how hard one tries . . . .

Posted by Craig Westover | 6:59 AM |  

My job is to get ready to write my next column, and therefore I have no comment on the Fishsticks excusion with the Stroms down the Mississippi this past summer.

Yes, it was my boat, but I witnessed no inappropriate activity, the incident with the Pierce county Sherrif's department water patrol not withstanding. (“Stern riding” really is a nautical term.) Unitl the situation plays itself out, I will make no further statement.

Worst Viking Commentary

Sid Hartman in today’s Strib --
I've covered the Vikings since their inception. This boat party will go down as the dumbest move any group of players in any sport has made. At this point it is all alleged. There will be a lot of egg on the face of the media if it is not true. That has happened in the past. Some of the Vikings players are denying that anything happened like what has been reported.

Wilf, who has gone way out of his way to treat his players well, seemed very embarrassed and upset about what happened when I talked to him Wednesday. He didn't want to comment further Wednesday, but I got the impression he is going to make sure this type of thing doesn't happen again.

While all the bad news was breaking about the boat ride, Vikings players Mike Rosenthal and Adam Goldberg were at Torah Academy in St. Louis Park, thanking the students for contributing to the Vikings food drive. They did a great job visiting with these young students, answering their questions and giving them a lot of good tips on how important it is to do well in school.

Most of the players who were on the charter boats also contribute so much to this community, so it is sad that this incident and some other things that have happened in the past divert the attention away from the good things Vikings players do.
At some point the Mafia defense (What about all of the people we don't kill) just doesn't fly.

Premature ejaculation of the Stadium Issue

A couple weeks ago Mark Yost and I hosted KSTP's "The Next Big Thing" and spent the two hours talking about the stadium issue. There was no shortage of phone calls despite the fact that the program aired while the Vikings were racking up their only win of the season thus far against the homeless Saints.

There were the expected calls against building a stadium for rich players and owners and the calls favoring state-run gambling to pay for new stadiums. Now unfortunately the Vikings seaman excursion gives lawmakers an out for not moving on stadiums without having to take a stand on the stadium issue per se.

There's a modus operandi among professional legislators -- don't write it down if you can say it; don't say it if you can mumble it; don't mumble it if you can nod to it; don't nod to it if you don't have to be in the room. The Vikings have shown legislators the door and given them a way out of voting against legislation the population is against, but the movers and shakers favor.

The real point ought to be, publicly financed stadiums are not bad because owners and players are rich. How they are publicly funded is not the issue. One shouldn’t decide to publicly fund a stadium because the hometown players are good or bad guys. Even economic analysis showing that publicly funded stadiums do not generate economic growth and development is not an adequate basis for casting a stadium vote.

What don’t we understand about limited government? Publicly financing private business, whether it’s the Twins, the Vikings, the Guthrie Theater, Northwest Airlines, a JOBZ zone beneficiary or an artistic grant to a community playhouse, is not a proper function of government. Period. It’s unfortunate that the Vikings’ cruise becomes an excuse to avoid the fundamental issue.