Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Oct 2005

Officials Investigate Alleged Sex Party on Boats

Things just keep getting better for the Vikings. Minnesota authorities are investigating allegations that at least 20 members of the Vikings went out on some charter cruises last week where the primary recreational activity wasn't whale watching. At least one of the boats were allegedly rented by cornerback Fred Smoot.

Posted by: Al Bogdan on 11 Oct 2005

53 comments, Last at 14 Oct 2005, 4:55pm by Mississippi Cubfan

Comments

1
by karl (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 12:23am

shit, if they're season is gonna suck anyway, they might as well have some fun. i bet mike tice never thought he'd be saying to himself: "the moral standard was a lot higher around here before we traded randy away. and we actually won games then, too."

2
by Glenn (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:24am

Tice scalped the cruise tickets.

3
by Jason (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 6:32am

I'll second Karl's comment. They need to go all out. This needs to be Playmakers style. A terrible team is boring. A terrible team who is also morally bankrupt and continuously getting in trouble with the law is not. We need to trade for Ricky Williams and bring Pete Rose in as a consultant on something.

4
by charles (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 8:30am

Thinks just keep getting better for the Vikings.

Thinks should be things right?

5
by Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 9:04am

>>"We're trying to sort out all the facts and see if any of it even rises to a criminal act, or whether it was just people who were offended."<<
Who cares? I mean its not like they robbed the boat. Its not even clear that the girls were prostitutes. I'm not sure what crime they're supposed to have committed.

6
by princveton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 10:07am

I'm sorry , but I can't think of anything else except the 2 whores in "Fargo"

"anything unusual about him?"

"well, we wasn't circumcised"

7
by Parker (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 10:17am

From what I am hearing on the radio here (which I take with a grain of salt), it sounds like this was pretty wild stuff.

I'm not sure anything rises above public lewdness or some other charge to that effect. I am not a lawyer.

The most disturbing part to me is that, allegedly, some of the riders were offering the female crew members money to 'join in' with the activities. Now, if I'm a woman on a boat with 40 or so very drunk, very sexed up, very large men who start asking me to do things to and for them for money, I start to get worried real quick.

Again, I'm not sure that rises to the level of a crime. But I'm not a lawyer.

I don't really have a problem with sex parties as long as everyone is a willing participant, but keep in private. You can't go into someone's place of business and start doing those things. Who are these people?

8
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 10:27am

Was it one of Stewie's sexy parties?

9
by Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 10:27am

I for one welcome our new sex-cruise overlords.

10
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 10:42am

If nothing illegal happened, what's the big deal?

Why not do the responsible thing and report this if and only if charges are pressed, etc? Oh, wait. That's asking too much from the media.

And people have sex parties all the time at hotels, etc. I'm not sure how this is any different, except that it's on a lake.

11
by MDS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:15am

The key here is that the staff and boat owners objected. In a hotel room, the hotel staff and owners don't care what you do as long as you don't damage the room. But on a boat with no privacy, it's reasonable for the staff not to be subjected to viewing other people having sex. If Fred Smoot wants to host an orgy in the privacy of his own home, and everyone who attends knows what s/he's getting into, I don't object. It doesn't sound like that's what happened here.

12
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:17am

My mind immediately went to Latrell Sprewell's shindig a few years ago, although I don't think that was as wild.

But how recently have athletes been partying on boats? Has this always happened, or only in the last few years?

13
by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:24am

Gone are the days when they ventured out into international waters simply to get drunk and watch monkey knife fights.

14
by Mona (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:28am

It's different because it takes place in front of employees who did not wish to witness the acts. It's fine to rent a hotel suite and have a wild party with booze, women, and whatever you want. It's not fine to have a party in the hotel bar, in front of employees, other patrons, etc. See the difference?

These aren't boats that you rent and they toss you the keys and wave good-bye. This is more like a floating restaurant/bar, with a crew and staff.

15
by Adam H (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:29am

I wonder if Daunte had performance anxiety without Randy.

16
by IllegalLeaping (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:43am

I wonder if Onterrio Smith was the props master?

17
by Moe (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:51am

Owner of the team for four games and Zygi has already had to give his idiot coach a vote of confidence and now the 'Love Boat' on Lake Minnetonka - Welcome to the NFL Mr. Wilf. Zygi needs to set precedent here for how he will operate.

18
by David S. (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 12:32pm

I wonder what else was covered with Smoot!

Sorry.

19
by TMK (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 12:32pm

Following up on MDS' post, what makes this truly serious is that those same crew members and staff apparently felt some coercion towards performing similar "services" as well.

Large, muscular, intoxicated people with a trained ability to knock you down so it hurts -- yep, I can see where someone would feel threatened by that. In some jurisdictions, that's borderline assault.

20
by Parker (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 12:42pm

Yes, I seem to recall that some level of assault occurs if you cause a threatening situation where a person feels that they are in harms way. I imagine that it is difficult to prove and needs direct threats of bodily harm like, 'If you don't do this I will beat you' rather than, 'I'll give you $50 to take your shirt off.' That is probably one of the things the authorities are looking into before bringing charges against anyone.

The above is purely speculative and most likely contains errors regarding legal standards, the authorities actions as well as any referrence to what actually took place on the boats. As such, it is of little to no value.

21
by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 12:55pm

Parker, you are correct. Although in common usage, assault implies a physical attack, in legal terms, assault is the threat of a physical confrontation, and battery is the actual confrontation. It's why you generally never hear anybody charged with battery without also being charged with assault.

22
by Duane (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:05pm

If anyone on either boat accepted any money in exchange for any sex act, that constitutes prostitution. In Minnesota prostitution is illlegal, whether it's in a hotel room, your living room, or one of Al and Alma's party barges.

23
by Parker (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:08pm

Yessssssss!

24
by DMP (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:11pm

How huge will it be if one of the boat staffers comes out to reveal a video tape of the events?

25
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:20pm

Having sex in a public place, without any attempt to conceal oneself, likely is a misdemeanor. Having sex with woman you've paid to have sex with is likely a misdemeanor, although I am open to arguments that prostituion should be legal, if heavily regulated.

Misdemeanors are not the worst behaviors in the world, and misdemeanors involving violence, like the Kevin Williams' charges on domestic violence, are far worse.

What many who downplay this type of behavior fail to grasp, however, is that the NFL is in the business of selling warm or enthusiastic feelings. For many customers, and potential customers, reports of players engaged in public sex on cruise boats, in front of offended crew members, interferes with the purchase of warm or enthusiastic feelings.

Thus, the NFL has a legitimate business interest in ruthlessly eliminating this behavior. Whattaya' think NASCAR, which takes points away for drivers engaging in vulgar language, would do in these circumstances? Toss in the fact that the Vikings are trying to gain public subsidy (a real abomination, in my view) for a stadium, and Wilf needs this like he needs one of his shopping malls built over a hazardous waste dump. As a guy who just made a $600 million-plus investment, he has every legitimate right to be as harsh as legally possible to those who interfere with it's profitable operation.

If I were NFL management in the CBA negotiations, I'd be willing to concede on some issues, in order to gain more control of the marketing of my product, which would include the contractual right to heavily police the behavior of my employees while they are in a public place. You wanna' engage in misdemeanor lewd conduct while holding a contract with my NFL franchise, and thus interfere with my marketing efforts? Fine; I wanna' withold eight game checks. You decide if it is worth it.

In any case, whatever slim chance Tice had of keeping his job just vanished, short of the Vikings going 10-2 (that'll happen when they sign me to take over for Culpepper) from here on out, and making the Conference final. Wilf will probably feel a need to hire a Coughlinesque coach, if only for public relations.

26
by Joey (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:20pm

Pro athletes engaged in sex? Wow, now there's news.

27
by Rufus (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:28pm

Apparently, Minnesota can't run block, pass block OR cock block.

28
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:33pm

How did the 'skins let this Smoot guy get away?

29
by James, London (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:43pm

In the UK the FA, who run our soccer league, have an offence, "bringing the game into disrepute". This is a catch all term that covers anything from players (and managers) insulting officials to endorsing video compilations of violence on the pitch (step forward Vinne Jones).

The FA have the power to fine and/or ban individuals for bringing the game into disrepute. Does the NFL have a similar sanction? Notwithstanding the criminality or otherwise of " The Fred Smoot Pleasure Cruise", this surely fits the disrepute bill.

30
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 1:48pm

James (London, #29 )--

To my knowledge, the league doesn't have such a sanction for off-field shennanigans (except for drugs).

However, many teams put similar clauses into their contracts.

31
by MDS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 3:19pm

Yes, the NFL does discipline players for violating its personal conduct policy. Jamal Lewis and Ray Lewis are among those who have been suspended or fined in recent years.

32
by SJM (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 3:22pm

If Smoot was still on the Skins, how many games do you think old-school Gibbs would suspend him for? 3? 4?

33
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 3:24pm

I can't remember; did either Lewis' plea deals involve copping to a gross misdemeanor, or just the petty variety?

34
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 3:26pm

SJM, I love Gibbs, but suspect that if a playoff spot were on the line, and the Colts on the schedule, ol' Smooty would be on the field.

35
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 3:58pm

Re: 32

Not sure how you could legitimately punish Smoot without punishing the other 19 guys too. Wonder if any coaches were invited?

Also wondering if this is gonna come up in any future divorce procedings?

36
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 4:20pm

Whomever hired the hookers, or was a john, is a legitimate target. Finding out who that was won't be easy. To be fair, the boats' crew members did report that some Vikings were appalled and very apologetic to the crew.

37
by Parker (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 5:01pm

RE:25

Just to piggy back on Wills comment about goodwill, warm fuzzies and new stadiums - Dean Johnson, the Majority Leader in the Minnesota Senate, made comments this morning about how the Vikings would be well served in their bid for a new stadium by performing better both on the field and off it. This little incident comes just as the Governor is talking about calling a special session to talk about stadiums and as the legislature urges him not to.

Now I'm no fan of public money for stadiums, but I'll bet Zygi Wilf is. Sen Johnson is mostly just posturing and being cute for the cameras, but he has a bit of a point. The Vikings organization makes it much more difficult politically for the legislature to vote in favor of a stadium when they have things like this happen.

The bright side is, even with a 4-12 record, things won't be boring up here this season.

38
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 5:32pm

Parker, this Sunday will reveal a lot. If the Vikings pack it in on the road against the Bears, you're looking at Les Steckel II: The Horror Returns.

This time, however, Bud Grant isn't available for an immediate credibility transplant.

39
by Jim A (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 5:51pm

From what I've read, the NFL's personal conduct policy allows the commissioner to discipline a player convicted of a criminal violation or accepting a plea to a lesser offense. So they may have to wait for the criminal investigation. Colts safety Mike Doss was recently suspended for two games under this policy after pleading no contest to misdemeanor gun charges. But I believe teams also have the power to take action for "conduct detrimental to the team", though that usually applies to internal team-related issues.

40
by Parker (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 5:53pm

Will, I was still out East during the Les Steckel year and not too interested in the mighty Purple. Though my wife often brings it up, I have no idea why they were so bad. Was it a talent problem or did they lack focus and leadership? Were there off the field incidents that could be labeled a distraction? Do tell.

41
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 6:33pm

Well, they did have lousy talent that year, but that didn't explain the complete non-competitive nature of their 13 (if I remember correctly) defeats. Steckel had no credibility as a head coach, and attempted to impress a bunch of professional athletes with his USMC background, even including a basic training-style obstacle course (!) at training camp.

When he was fired, then-middle linebacker, and ironically, now a member of the Vikings front office, Scott Studwell, appeared on local T.V. with a hat on with the letters "AMF" (for "Adios, Mother Fornicator") stenciled on the front. Bud Grant then came back for one more year, and with basically the same talent, went 7-9 while being very competitive. The following year the Vikings got Anthony Carter and Keith Millard (and maybe Gary Zimmerman) from the USFL, and started to become much more talented.

In any case, I think Tice, for all his faults, really has been given a raw deal. He hasn't been allowed to maintain a coaching staff by NFL standards, and his lame-duck status really harms his credibility with players. That this all comes after his number-one task, managing the psyche of Randy Moss, has been removed, just adds irony.

42
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 6:46pm

"and attempted to impress a bunch of professional athletes with his USMC background, even including a basic training-style obstacle course (!) at training camp."

What!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the most impressive thing about him!

Obviously a former Marine is smart, sexy and a credit to any profession.

43
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 7:12pm

Carl, I love the USMC, on general principles, and for having pulled my fat from the fire one one occasion which I won't detail, but Ol' Les' attempt to use his Marine resume to build his credibility didn't work out too well.

44
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 9:36pm

Will, there's a moratorium of sorts in here about the USFL. If you bring that up, then I get to talk about why H Walker deserves to be in the HOF.

I get the feeling a Minnesota fan doesn't want to hear that polemic.

45
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:30pm

Carl, I'd love to hear the argument why Straight Ahead Walker deserves HOF status. Why the moratorium on USFL chatter in FO?

46
by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:31pm

If I was a high school or college coach, I'd post this story in the weight room. Championships, fame, money and accolades are nice, but the possibility of orgies with Smoot-covered whores will really inspire the kids to put in the hard work necessary to go pro.

47
by elhondo (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 1:12am

Re # 29

“bringing the game into disrepute"

Wow, they'd probably have to fine the Vikings for some of their games too...

48
by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 3:07am

Just as long as someone didn't try to cut on of the boats in half with a power chainsaw, it's all good.

49
by bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 5:39am

RE: #13: Ah, the innocent pleasure of monkey knife fights....

I am sensing a strong NFC North thing here, with ex-Packer Mark Chmura acting as cruise director: "Hurry, people, all aboard. Teenage baby sitters to the left, hookers to the right, and babysitters we plan to treat like hookers, meet me in my hot tub." That episode tanked his Pro-Bowl career, didn't it? Maybe it was so devastating for him because of the girl's age and his previous "high moral ground" posturing. One wonders what will become of some Vikes...in a year, I want to see who is tarnished by this and who gets a mulligan.

50
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 11:56am

Well, coach told them they needed to score more....

51
by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 12:12pm

Mark Chmura...now there's a name I haven't heard in a while.

52
by Jim A (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 12:36pm

That episode tanked his Pro-Bowl career, didn't it?

Actually, Chmura had suffered a serious neck injury the previous season that probably would have ended his career even without the incident. Apparently his trial sparked his interest in law, as he's been working as a paralegal. He also co-hosts a weekly football radio show in Milwaukee.

53
by Mississippi Cubfan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/14/2005 - 4:55pm

Smoot, a former student (Notice I did NOT say graduate) of Mississippi State, provided the fodder for a joke while at MSU.
#1 "Did you hear that Bully (The MSU mascot) died?"
#2 "No! What happened?"
#1 "Fred Smoot was supposed to be feeding him on his way to class."