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The Minnesota Vikings traded their star receiver, Randy Moss, to the Oakland Raiders last month in what even Moss-scoffers acknowledge equates to the ludicrous Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio trade in 1964. The bad feelings about Moss came less from his on-field antics, although those were plentiful enough, than from his off-field problems, such as deliberately hitting a police officer with his car two years ago. They applauded the Vikings for moving Moss out of the Twin Cities even if they scratched their heads about only getting Napoleon Harris and a couple of draft choices for him. Moss-scoffers felt like the message had been sent that chronic misbehavior would no longer be tolerated.
Unfortunately, now it looks like the Vikings got rid of the wrong person if that was their intent. Sports Illustrated reports tonight that Mike Tice has admitted to scalping his Super Bowl tickets for profit the past several years, and at least one former player has indicated that Tice ran a scalping ring during his entire tenure with the Vikings. He initially denied the claims and blamed it on a disgruntled former player, but now has recanted:
"I probably shouldn't have sold my tickets,'' Tice told SI.com on Thursday. "I made a mistake. I regret it. I'll never do it again. I'm going to be in trouble. I'll probably get slapped with a big fine."
The revelation that Tice admitted scalping some of his own Super Bowl tickets comes two days after SI.com first reported that he is being investigated by the NFL for allegedly heading and profiting from a Super Bowl ticket-scalping operation within the Vikings organization.
Two investigators from the league's security staff were in the Twin Cities on Tuesday to question Tice and Vikings running backs coach Dean Dalton about the alleged ticket scalping. In a reported five-hour meeting with the investigators in Tice's office, the head coach admitted he scalped some of the Super Bowl tickets he obtained this year, but denied approaching any Vikings players about scalping their tickets. A Vikings source said Tice maintains that Dalton was the intermediary who dealt directly with the players and the person who purchased their tickets for a California ticket agency.
However, SI notes that Tice carefully qualifies his admission when it comes to brokering player tickets:
"I sold some of my tickets this year,'' Tice said. "I did. I told the league that and I told [team owner] Red McCombs that. I'm not going to lie. But if I'm going to be thrown out this year for selling tickets, then I'm a scapegoat. If I'm guilty of anything, I'm guilty of selling some of my tickets. I am not guilty of buying any player tickets since I've been made the head coach [in January 2002].''
Tice has also acknowledged that he scalped Super Bowl tickets as a Vikings assistant coach from 1996-2001, and that he told his assistants this year it was all right for them to sell their Super Bowl tickets to a California ticket agency that he has long dealt with.
What this means is that Tice spent the last several years violating league policy in order to profit just off his own allotment (estimates vary, but probably it would amount to $15,000 per year). Not only that, but his qualification on the player tickets indicates that he had a conspiracy to profit off of their tickets as well in earlier years. According to Tice, he stopped doing the latter when he was named head coach, but at least one former player disputes that:
"Dean is going to be the one taking the fall,'' said a former Vikings player from the 2003 team. "Tice was running it all, but he worked it through Dean so it didn't get traced directly to him.''
Tice receives one of the lowest salaries in the NFL among head coaches, but he still makes a high-six-figure salary. Instead of working to boost that by improving as a coach, he decided instead to run a little criminal conspiracy with his players and his coaches. Even if that stopped when he became head coach, the inappropriate nature of his lockerroom racket should disqualify him from any leadership position (as if his on-field performance doesn't already fill that ticket). Small wonder, then, that Randy Moss seemed to present such intractable discipline problems with the coaching staff setting this kind of example. They not only set the tone for the players, they may have exploited them to maximize their own profits.
Sheer idiotic greed. This is what the Vikings want us to buy with a publicly-financed stadium?
UPDATE: One of the draft choices was the seventh overall, not seventh round, as several CQ readers have pointed out. I've edited the post to say "a couple of draft choices". I still think it was a lousy trade, and I don't even like Moss.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Perhaps The Vikings Are Turning A Corner from Firewolf's Blog
Yesterday, the entire media circus here in the Twin Cities ran rampant over the possible news that Coach Tice was somehow involved in a ticket scalping scheme. Whether or not Coach Tice is involved with this situation or not shouldn't matter to Re... [Read More]
Tracked on March 10, 2005 11:55 PM
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