Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Aug 2006

Vikings Release Koren Robinson

Only months after signing him to a multi-year contract extension, the Vikings waived Koren Robinson on Saturday. While this might be the best move for the Vikings, it's hard to imagine that it's the best thing for Koren Robinson, the person.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 26 Aug 2006

20 comments, Last at 28 Aug 2006, 6:12pm by zlionsfan


by noah of the ark (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 7:55pm

It's looking worse and worse for the Vikes this year.

by Mac (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 8:06pm

I rarely feel sorry for well-paid athletes or people that drink a lot, but Koren is an exception. He certainly tried to help himself, even going into rehab this summer before he could relapse, but he just couldn't do it. As a Vikings fan I'm disappointed, but as a human being I'm even more disappointed. I hope Koren gets things right and becomes a motivational speaker or something.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 9:09pm

I hate motivational speakers, that whole thing is a scam. 90% of people who use self help books or go to these motivational seminars are back there within 6 months. It builds dependacy not change. CHange comes from within. You don't need so 50,000 a day speaker to tell you to stop drinking and go to work on time. Your mom/dad/neighbor will give that advice for free.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 9:53pm

You don’t need so 50,000 a day speaker to tell you to stop drinking and go to work on time.

That's good advice for all of us, but sometimes a person needs the to hear the right words or have the right buttons pushed in order to follow good advice.

One of my best friends is a recovering alcoholic, clean since 1998. He said that every day he set out to get drunk, he truly believed that it was the last time he'd to it for a while, that being defined from anywhere from a few days to forever. He was contantly re-shuffling the deck in his mind so that this night was the night he had to drink.

When he realized he hadn't had a sober night in over three months, he waved the white flag and got help.

As far as Robinson goes, I'm glad he didn't hurt anyone while doing 100 while over the legal limit. I wish him well, but he needs to pay the price for that one.

by Justus (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 10:32pm

#3 - Actually there is a vast difference between spending $50,000 and getting the same advice for free; it is just the way our brains work. If you spend $50,000 (i.e. saying it has value) and then ignore the advice (i.e. saying it has no value), cognitive dissonance sets in. Our brain works pretty hard to avoid cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is just one of the biases that behavioural finance has catalogued.

by Sisyphus (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 10:35pm

Sun rises in the East

Is anyone surprised by the Vikings letting go of him? His contract was structured for exactly this kind of situation, minimal cap damage.

It would be good if this breaks through for him, most addicts have to hit bottom to change and it usually takes more than once. Perhaps a year will help him on that road, perhaps not, time will tell. From a football standpoint it is trivial one way or another from his own personal standpoint it becomes a matter of survival.

I am concerned for those players who are not well grounded and have been told all their lives how special and different they are and how the normal rules don't apply. Hopefully someone cares enough in his life to kick his @ss until he comes around. In any case it is kind of sad a sad story but not uncommon except for the heights from which the fall came.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/26/2006 - 11:09pm

I am concerned for those players who are not well grounded and have been told all their lives how special and different they are and how the normal rules don’t apply.

I have to call BS here. It's only a theory, but I'd bet every dollar I have that the rate of addicts in professional sports is far lower than the general population.

This isn't about a "spoiled athlete". This is about a man with an addiction, of which there is clear scientific evidence is hereditary.

That's not me excusing Robinson or "feeling sorry" for him, that's just the lay of the land.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 9:12am

One of my aunts drank herself to death, so I hope for Robinsons' sake that he can sort himself out.

Back to football, does this mean that the Vikings becomes serious contenders for Deion Branch? I may be wrong, but I believe that the Vikings have enough space to put real money on the table and absorb the hit this year, rather than prorating a bonus.

by luz (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 10:38am


i guess it depends on how far from the tree childress fell. my feelinng is that the eagles don't like giving up picks unless they are clearly doing well by the trade and i don't think the pats are inclined to give them such favorable terms.

by Theo (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 10:39am

The only way out of anxiety, addictions, impulsiveness, overeating, overspending, fear and being a whiner... is courage.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 12:16pm

This thread has early promise as a Rorschach blot for each FO regular's outlook on human nature.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 3:01pm

11- unfortunately, yeah.

10- Theo, if you've never had any of those problems, is it because you're more courageous than those that have?

I can look at Robinson and say "this guy has a problem" without beating him up over it or using his problem to try making myself look superior.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 5:33pm

I doubt drunks are any more prevalent among professional athletes than any other industry, and they may well be less prevalent. Having freeloaders around who tell you how wonderful you are, however, is not conducive to winning the daily battle with addiction, and young people with millions in their pocket certainly are more prone to having freeloaders around, whispering sweet nothings in their ear, than, say, a guy who manages a grocery store. Thus, I think the grocery store manager may have a better chance of staying sober.

As far as Deion Branch, it certainly sounds as if the Patriots may be asking such a high price in a trade that even a team with cap space is most unlikely to pull the trigger.

by lk6 (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 6:40pm

Who watches the watchmen?

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 7:10pm

What's bad is that on a Saints message board, some people suggested that they pick up
Robinson--despite the looming suspension. Yeah, New Orleans is the perfect place to go when you're fighting those sorts of demons in your life.

10: There is no way in hell that you can be serious. If you are, then I really feel for anyone in your life who has a problem.

by Sisyphus (not verified) :: Sun, 08/27/2006 - 9:19pm

7 No the comment isn't BS, ask any friend of Bill. Addicts have enablers and when they are famous they have sycophants who are more than happy to fulfill that function and as long as they do they almost never get better.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 1:41pm

Theo, if you’ve never had any of those problems, is it because you’re more courageous than those that have?

He didn't say that courage was the only way to avoid problems like alcoholism. He said that the only way to overcome problems like alcoholism is courage. While I may have chosen another word than courage, I just wanted to point out that there is a huge difference between what he said and what you said he said.

by DWL (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 3:39pm

The DSM-IV-TR estimates the prevalence of alocohol dependence across the lifetime at 15% and in the population at 5%, which means given 53(?) man rosters, 84 (2.6 per team) NFL Players have a serious alcohol problem.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 3:43pm

I don't think 84 NFL players have serious alcohol problems. Usually an individual with a drinking problem would have been weeded out a long time before hitting the elite NFL level

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 6:12pm

Without a definition of "serious", it's hard to dispute or support those figures, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if we magically discovered that 5% of all NFL players had alcohol problems. (It would require magic to discover this - I cannot picture any kind of survey that would gather this information accurately. Even if players were willing to admit to a dependency, the pressure to make the NFL look better would be rather heavy, I imagine.)

I don't think people with drinking problems get weeded out at any level unless their problem lowers their contribution to the team to a point where it does not make sense to keep them around. I believe that in any sport and at almost any level, as long as you can produce, that's all most teams care about.

In the pros, the problem would be even worse: for the most part, players have much more money, which means certain aspects of their drinking problem take much longer to surface, and again for the most part, there is no shortage of people, as Will said, to tell the player that everything's okay, he's the greatest, it's cool, everyone drinks anyway.

However, I have no way of verifying that. All I know about players like Kerry Collins and Theo Fleury is what I read from other sources. There's no way to tell what they're not telling us, and no way to know what else is happening on the team.