Media Pundits Should Worry About Their Own Closet…Not Fowler’s

By Gregory Moore
Updated: February 18, 2005
Prospective Minnesota Vikings’ owner Reggie Fowler

SAN ANTONIO – Some days I wish I could make some serious coin when it comes prognosticating how long it will take for a certain segment of the population to start tearing down Reggie Fowler’s credibility because he makes mistakes here and there. Well let’s see my first article on the matter was written on Jan. 27th and today is February 18th. Let’s see that is, what, eighteen days? Of course I have gotten a few e-mails today on this very topic and it doesn’t surprise me that the Minneapolis papers are already clamoring to discredit him because he is a private person. My question to all the media pundits and the rest of the community in the Twin Cities is this: what’s more important to you, what’s in his closet or what’s in yours?

Now I ask that question because it seems to me that if Minnesotans really were concerned about their football team and who owned it, then they would have done every thing possible to make sure a new stadium was in place. If they were so worried about outsiders owning the franchise, then maybe somebody should have helped Glen Taylor procure it before Red McCombs did in 1998. But see that is neither here nor there at the present point. All of the ‘should a, would a, could a” malarkey is some seven years removed from the situation at hand. What is now before the state of Minnesota and Minneapolis in particular is the fact that Fowler had some discrepancies in a two page biographical sketch put before the press. Undoubtedly the public relations firm that was hired by Fowler didn’t really do a good job in making sure that the information was correct and I am going to place that blame on Fowler because he could have easily had an executive sketch of him from his company done. But with that said, does a few discrepancies on his personal life really warrant the witch hunts and series of “advice” articles that are now prevalent?

From this vantage point I have been besieged with e-mails saying that Fowler’s blunder is a black eye to the Black community and I am awestruck that folk would even think of such foolishness. Let’s make something perfectly clear on what’s important in this story. Here is what’s important for the Black community: that a very successful businessman with a proven track record to have the 11th largest industrial company that is Black owned is in the process of making history in the National Football League as an owner. End of story Black America. For the mainstream press and everyone else here’s your story: that a businessman who is sincerely interested in helping you keep your franchise in your community is making strides to do so and you need to back off and let him become an owner first before you decide to pass judgment. End of story White America (so to speak). End of story.

HOW ABOUT LOOKING AT YOUR OWN SKELETONS FIRST So with that said I figured why don’t I turn the tables on the Twin Cities populous and ask them a few questions. Since they are so worried about Fowler’s credibility, how about the voters’ credibility in truly wanting to help this team succeed in having a new stadium? With the Minnesota Twins occupying the same building, how come the citizens in Minneapolis-St. Paul have not been able to put the screws to their elected officials and get a better lease together that helps their professional teams make more money? Why haven’t anyone who has some type of clout with the governor and state legislature been able to persuade those officials the importance of making sure that the two biggest sports franchises in the state are viable community assets and realize that the Metrodome is an outdated facility? Why haven’t community leaders in both cities been able to help previous owners get such proposals together and passed? See that’s a skeleton that is so huge for Minnesota that they don’t have time to worry about whether a prospective owner played Little League baseball or not.

The pundits who are out there making such ‘sensible’ suggestions to Fowler’s plight have no basis to make them because their past history of not helping McCombs and whoever else owned the franchise before him get a plan in place. Is that the fault of the constituency in those cities? Not when they are the product of their own thinking of “these rich owners can build their own stadiums” mindset. I am willing to bet the farm that my hypothesis is right on the money because that is the mindset across this country. Communities where there are professional sports want to claim the franchise as ‘community property’ but yet when ownership is asking for a new house, these same communities don’t want to pony up the dough. Well if that is the case then how can anyone from the Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, any public relations firm that has commented on Fowler’s statements in a press release, civic leader or just ordinary citizen claim the Vikings as their ‘property’ when they haven’t put anything on the table in the form of ownership to the Vikings? In all practicality they cannot and that needs to be understood at this present time.

Now I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any Purple Pride floating around in the area. What makes communities with sports teams so attractive is their passion for the teams that they are attached to. It might be a painful situation for Minnesotans to see an outsider like Fowler be on the cusp of becoming an owner of something that he may or may not know anything about. However it should be understood that if Fowler weren’t interested in keeping the team in Minnesota, he wouldn’t be looking to buy a house there. Now unless some rich person in the Twin Cities is going to donate a house to him, fully furnished and to his liking, nobody should be giving him advice on anything right now. Not a PR firm that wasn’t hired by him. Not a newspaper that is looking to sell copies with a sensationalist story. Not even a high-ranking baseball executive from the Minnesota Twins should be worried about what goes on in the Fowler camp.

The bottom line is that if ‘your’ house isn’t straight, pristine and above board in its affairs, you don’t need to give out advice on something like what happened in the Fowler situation. The NFL isn’t worried about whether or not he played baseball or football or what discipline he got his college degree in. They are going to be looking at his financials and the only people who will get full disclosure of EVERYTHING on Reggie Fowler is the NFL finance committee and the owners. That should be good enough for all of us, media journalist, pundit and Minnesotans alike. And if not, tough cookies. If we don’t like it, then make Red a counter offer that rivals Taylor’s proposed plan. Then again if anybody in Minnesota truly had that kind of money and a real solution to McCombs’ stadium problem, they would have owned the team by now.