When all else fails, there's always the race card. That, anyway, seems to be the angle of local personality, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., who, during a radio cast on WCCO, explained the Vikings' inability to get a publicly funded stadium as a legislative decision predicated on racism. Those are my words. Mr. Fitzgerald's were far more tortured, but meant precisely the same thing.
Fitzgerald's argument was premised on the fact that the Minnesota Wild, a mostly "White" hockey team, and the Minnesota Twins, a mostly "White" baseball team, received public funding for their stadium ventures. "Then you have the Minnesota Vikings," Fitzgerald halted. "Mostly black players. . . And it's difficult not to wonder if there's some connection."
Wow. There's asinine, and there's this--leagues beyond asinine.
There's little question that the Wild are comprised of mostly "White" players. Yet, other than that fact, Fitzgerald offers no support that the Wild received special consideration owing to the Minnesota Legislature's or St. Paul City Council's perception of the team's "Whiteness." Never mind that the Wild did not yet exist at the time that funding was approved for Excel Energy Center.
The Twins offer an even more difficult front to Fitzgerald's sound reasoning skills. For while the Wild ultimately included a sole "non-Whitey" in Korean Richard Park--strongly suggesting, of course, Fitzgerald's suggestion that the Minnesota Legislature and St. Paul City Council cut a deal with the Wild ownership group to ensure that the team would be "almost entirely White"--the Twins had far fewer "Whites" at the time that the Minnesota Legislature approved funding for the new Twins' stadium in 2006.
On the Twins' roster at some point during that legislatively decisive 2006 season were no fewer than fifteen "non-Whites." That would seem to contradict Fitzgerald's argument, but why let facts get in the way of a good racism rant?
Team composition aside, Fitzgerald's argument is more than galling, it is infantile in its complete neglect of the object of the benefit of stadium-funding. One could make a plausible argument that fans benefit from a new stadium. And clearly ownership benefits from a new stadium. Had the Wild and Twins been owned by "Whites" and the Vikings by "non-Whites," Fitzgerald would have had his soapbox. Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, the Vikings are owned by "Whities." So Fitzgerald had to make the most singularly implausible argument that a new stadium most benefits the players.
What is intriguing about Fitzgerald's comments are not the mangled expression that Fitzgerald gave them, but the forum in which he was allowed to make such unsubstantiated and readily controvertible charges--WCCO radio. Presumably still bitter over its divorce from the Vikings, 'CCO, a long-standing ownership fleshlight, not only aired Fitzgerald's remarks but did so with the host of the show offering seeming approbation.
It's no secret that the Vikings have played on the willingness of certain local media entities to don knee pads in assisting the Vikings' drive for a publicly funded stadium. It is, however, highly unfortunate that the standards in local sports journalism have sunk so low that the race card can actually be raised as an explanation for why the Vikings' White ownership group is unable to secure state funding for a new stadium.
Up Next: Some Revenue Numbers that the Vikings are Not Sharing. Plus, another cream puff in waiting?