New owner needs to take a stand, now

It was just a few weeks ago when Zygi Wilf stood before the cameras and notepads and asked for $400 million from state taxpayers to help build a new stadium for his Minnesota Vikings.

It was just a few weeks ago when Zygi Wilf stood before the cameras and notepads and asked for $400 million from state taxpayers to help build a new stadium for his Minnesota Vikings.

Zygi, of course, wanted to let everybody know that the Vikings weren't his exclusive domain and the new stadium wasn't just for him, even though he and his family will be the only ones profiting from the Purple. No, Zygi insisted, even though the Vikings are privately owned, they are a "semi-institution" that belongs to the citizens of Minnesota. The team is "part of our fiber." The stadium is to be "utilized by families."

It was an impressive performance. Completely fraudulent and self-serving, but impressive nonetheless considering Zygi is a quiet land developer from New Jersey and not a Hollywood thespian. Or even a Texas used-car salesman.

But fair is fair. If the Zygster wants all Minnesotans to feel like they own a part of the Vikings, then it is up to Minnesotans to let the owner know what they want from their team. And it is up to Zygi to listen.

What Minnesotans should want from their Vikings and the team's owner is this: an apology, a zero-tolerance policy and rolling heads.


That is what should come out of the Vikings' latest humiliating scandal, the capper of two decades of humiliating scandals, also known as "The Love Boat Meets Linda Lovelace."

Enough is enough is enough. It's time for Wilf to stand up before the same Minnesotans he begged for money and say, "As the owner of the Minnesota Vikings, I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed for my family, I am embarrassed for my franchise, I am embarrassed for my employees who were not involved in this situation, I am embarrassed for our fans, and I am embarrassed for the state of Minnesota. I am sorry and I promise I will do everything in my power to see that the Vikings do not embarrass themselves or their loyal fans again."

Is that asking too much? Is it asking for the moon for an owner of a semi-institution to make people accountable for their actions? Other businesses have conduct codes for their employees, so why not a professional sports franchise that is part of our fiber?

What a perfect opportunity for Wilf to stand up and tell all those fans that the Vikings will no longer stand for inappropriate behavior. Any player or employee who brings shame or embarrassment to the Vikings, Wilf should say, will be dismissed. Superstar or fourth-stringer, doesn't matter. Goodbye. Whether you break the law or just do something stunningly stupid, get lost. Don't let the galley door hit you on the way out.

It's the only way for the franchise to regain credibility and the only way to drive a point home through the incredibly dense curtain of irresponsibility that engulfs the Vikings.

Mike Tice, the non-leader of this crew and, incidentally, an obviously incompetent NFL head coach? Gone.

Fred Smoot, the supposed ringleader of the nautical debauchery? Gone.

Any other players who partook or propositioned? Gone and gone.


Won't happen, of course, regardless of Zygi's proclamation of citizen semi-ownership. Making excuses and blaming the media are far easier avenues than taking meaningful action.

But Minnesotans who insist on accountability from the Vikings can take solace in the fact that the team's losing combined with its latest, greatest scandal of the day has pretty well assured Zygi's stadium getting the OK this year are nil. Legislators had no stomach for a special session anyway, and the floating sex party likely cemented that feeling.

Fair is fair works both ways. The gargantuan profits will have to wait, maybe until somebody with the Vikings stands up for what is right.

Forum sports columnist Mike McFeely can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 10 a.m.-noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5580 or

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