Monday, July 28, 2014

Obligatory grandstanding

Shoulda seen this coming.

Seventeen state lawmakers urged Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf to release the result of a full investigation into homophobic remarks made by a coach while calling his three-game suspension too lenient.

The strongly-worded letter signed by DFL legislators in both the House and Senate say the remarks made by special teams coach Mike Priefer to "...round up all the gays, send them to an island and then nuke it until it glows" is "tantamount to calling for the genocide of all LBGT people."

That would be the conclusion one would draw if one were a complete simpleton. But the fact of the matter is coaches often say such things that they believe will get under a player's skin. Since Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was such an outspoken advocate for defeating the MN Marriage Amendment (one that would have defined marriage as strictly between one man and one woman) in 2012, Priefer used that fact to try to motivate his under-performing punter. In hindsight, it would have behooved Priefer to perhaps swap out "gays" for, say, "bass guitar players", a group which Kluwe himself is a member in the band Tripping Icarus. While I felt it was wildly inappropriate for Priefer to say what he said, it's utterly asinine to assume that he wants to completely eradicate a segment of society.

Another issue that cropped up is the cautionary tale of accepting corporate welfare. Between Hennepin County and the state of Minnesota, approximately half a billion dollars of taxpayer money has been pledged to finance the nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium, which is slated to be completed in 2016. Because of those subsidies, public officials suddenly believe they have the right to advise a business how to handle incidents with its employees.

In the letter, the legislators remind Wilf that taxpayers contributed nearly half a billion dollars to the new stadium currently under construction, as well as continuing a sales tax exemption on ticket sales to the 2018 Super Bowl.

"In light of this enormous public effort, it is imperative that your organization be held accountable," the letter reads. "This is especially true when it would seem that Vikings leadership is turning a blind eye to such egregious misconduct and seems determined to remain opaque to the very public which has invested so much in the success of your team."

I got news for these public officials: For better or worse, the vast majority of "the very public" care only about performance on the field. Period. If some fans want to act all pious and boycott the team over this incident, then that is their prerogative. But I guarantee that most of the Vikings devotees don't really care. Remember the "Love Boat" incident back in 2005? Sure, fans were initially disgusted as the details became public. But that debacle became a distant memory when the team won six consecutive games in the second half of that season, thus vaulting into playoff contention (Alas, the Vikes fell just short of the postseason that year).

In the end, this is merely about a group of DFLers (14 of 17 are senators, who are not up for reelection) with a little too much time on their hands with the Legislature being out of session. But since there's a strong possibility their House cohorts may lose their majority, why let a good crisis go to waste? I'm just waiting for the political ad proclaiming that no Republicans stood by the DFL's side on this issue. I wouldn't surprised if Carrie Lucking and her Alliance for a Bitter Better Minnesota minions are on that as we speak.


1 comment:

Mr. D said...

Not surprised to see Barb Goodwin on this list. She's my senator and she's never passed up a chance to grandstand on an issue.