Friday, February 18, 2005

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa....

Earlier this week, some local media members took it upon themselves to check the resume of prospective Vikings' owner Reggie Fowler. On that resume, Fowler claimed, among other things, that he once played in the Little League World Series; had a five-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals; played in the CFL; and earned a business degree.

It turns out that Fowler fabricated each of these claims. Little League officials say that Fowler never played in the Little League World Series; the Bengals say that Fowler never played for their organization; the CFL says that Fowler never played in the CFL; and the Registrar's Office at the University of Wyoming, Fowler's collegiate institute, says that Fowler never received a business degree.

When pressed to explain the apparent errors of fact on his resume, Fowler expressed regret for any actual or perceived errors and scheduled a press conference to "clear the air" and to gain the support of Minnesotans. Fowler stated that he wanted to "win the hearts of Minnesotans."

With this promise in their pockets, many Vikings' fans (present company excluded) undoubtedly were willing to give Fowler another bite at the apple. For the promise of being upfront, many Vikings' fans were, thus, willing to see if Fowler is an apt owner of the Vikings.

Unfortunatley, Fowler failed to deliver on his pledge.

In a short press conference that ran from 2.15 pm CDT to 2.25 pm CDT--a press conference tighly controlled by Fowler's local PR arm, the Tunheim PR Agency--Fowler not only failed to come clean on the resume gaffes, he also managed to create even greater uncertaintly about his continuing obfuscatory demeanor. And, in so doing, Fowler has managed to create more of a Tom Clancy-like aura around this proposed sale of the Vikings than even Tom Clancy himself was able to do.

The Press Conference

Fowler began his brief press conference by assuring Minnesotans that he was sorry. Fowler was not sorry about lying on his resume, however. Instead, he was sorry that he "did not read his resume more carefully."

Hello?

Who wrote the resume? Was it Reggie? Was it Tunheim? Either Fowler, as author, knew about the errors in his resume or, as the unwitting, non-participating subject of his own resume, Fowler let another party shape his image in a fashion that that party undoubtedly assured Fowler was sufficient to "win the hearts of Vikings' fans." No matter the scenario, Fowler clearly had put another dent in the PR armor.

And, if that was not enough to rouse the curiousity of even the most hopeful of Vikings' fans, Fowler continued with his explanation of the resume gaffes. Fowler explained that, although he had not played in the NFL or CFL, he had been in camp with teams in both leagues. Fowler did not explain how that came to manifest itself on his resume as having had a five-year NFL career and a CFL career, but at least he had an explanation.

Fowler also had explanations of sorts for the contentions on his resume that he had a business degree and that he had played in the Little League World Series.

Regarding the Little League World Series, Fowler contended that he had played in an all-city all-star game in Arizona and that he and the other participants referred to that event as the Little League World Series. "I guess that's where it came from," he opined.

Come on! What's more ridiculous, the claim that the participants of some city all-star game referred to their all-star game as the Little League World Series or that Fowler would suggest that he was not sure of the source of the contention but that his fallback story was actually credible?

Fowler also stated that he claimed to have a business degree on his resume because having a business degree sounded better than a degree in social work, Fowler's true degree field. The contention, Fowler stated, helped him establish his own business career.

Whether the Little League World Series claim got you going, you should really have a concern about this latter statement. While it is undoubtedly the case that an independent entrepreneur will find a wider circle of acceptance if the entrepreneur has a business versus a social degree, that Fowler felt compelled to lie about his credentials to get ahead certainly ought to raise eyebrows, particularly since we know less about Fowler than we once knew about Tom Clancy.

Concerns

Fowler's failure to rectify the gaffes on his resume only add to the suspicion that something is amiss in the sale of the Vikings' to the "Fowler Group." It adds to the extant questions regarding who his fellow investors are, why Fowler is unwilling to answer even general questions about his finances, and why Fowler is unwilling to speak about his stadium plans, even though he admits to having a stadium solution. It is also curious that Fowler is so intent on convincing Vikings' fans that he wants to be a Minnesotan, as if he has been steadily couched to do so.

All of this perpetuates the nagging suspicion that Fowler is trying to hide something. At the press conference today, Fowler stated that "we . . . Reggie Fowler, has the means to make this happen." Fowler finished by referring to himself, but clearly began with an apparent slip-of-the-tongue reference to "we." That suggests that Fowler either does not have the means to make "this" happen or that "this" is something other than keeping the Vikings in Minnesota and making them legitimate championship contenders.

Red McCombs sold the Vikings because, despite being worth approximately $1.4 billion and netting $30 million plus the past two seasons as owner of the Vikings, "the Vikings were not profitable enough." At his opening press conference, Fowler echoed Red's sentiments and strongly indictated that the Vikings could not be a profitable venture without a new stadium. As a mandatory 30% owner of the Vikings, with a net worth of approximately $400 million, with considerably more debt than Red ever had as Vikings' owner, and with no new stadium on the horizon, how can Fowler make a go of it where Red could not?

From this angle, it appears that if the Emperor is wearing clothes, the clothing is both too revealing and not revealing enough.

Up Next: Stadium Issues.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Will the league ram this guy down our throats because they think a minority owner would look good?

That seems to be Fowler's only prayer as he seems to be a paper tiger.

Vikes Geek said...

Check out Thursday's column. I don't believe the NFL cares about whether Fowler is black. While it would look good for the NFL to have a minority owner, they are not going to approve minority ownership if the prospective minority applicant is not qualified.

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