Minnesota Vikings

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One Black man’s path to an NFL executive suite

According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), there are nearly 30 high-ranking Black National Football League team executives: seven general managers and 22 vice-presidents. The MSR recently talked to one of them during an appearance at Oak Park Center in North Minneapolis. 

Kevin Warren’s original plans were to be in Minnesota for a year or so. “I helped [the present Minnesota Vikings ownership group] buy the team, and they asked me to come and work here,” admits Warren, who then was living and working in Phoenix. “But this is my 10th season in Minnesota and my 16th season in the NFL.”

It isn’t the first time Warren, the highest ranking Black team executive working on the business side of things in the NFL, reached a change-of-plans crossroad. The youngest of seven, Warren was born in Phoenix, Arizona. Continue Reading →

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Vikings beat Jets 30-24 overtime!

Yes, the Vikings are still battling to salvage the 2014 season for first-year Head Coach Mike Zimmer. His team made franchise history Sunday with a rare win over the New York Jets. Only once previously in the franchise’s history had the Vikings beaten the New York Jets. You had to go back to 1975, when Bud Grant’s Vikings beat the Jets 29-21. New York is now 2-8 all-time against the Vikings after Teddy Bridgewater hit Jarius Wright with an electrifying 87-yard game-winning touchdown pass. Continue Reading →

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What to do with Adrian Peterson?

Last week on Election Day, Adrian Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, ending the controversial child abuse case against him involving his four-year-old son. Peterson had been indicted by a Montgomery, Texas grand jury on a single felony charge of injury to a child. In the plea agreement, Peterson agreed to two years’ probation, a $4,000 fine, and 80 hours of community service. Peterson has not played since the first game of the year against the St. Louis Rams, which was nine weeks ago. Continue Reading →

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A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →

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Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, Year X does it again!


Amazing — we’re blessed to recognize that we have been given another day to try and get our lives straight. It really hits you when you look up and realize it’s been 11 years since April 10, 2003, the day Carol Fitzgerald died of breast cancer. This past weekend, the 10th annual Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund (CFMF) celebrated the legacy of Carol’s life with the benefit at the Metropolitan Ballroom Friday night in Golden Valley and the celebration of her life and work Saturday at Martin Luther King Center in Minneapolis. It’s not easy asking people you know and don’t know to trust you and help you with raising money and taking their time to benefit others. But that is what we are about with the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund. Continue Reading →

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Keep Pam: Firing Gopher women’s basketball coach won’t solve team’s problems

I’ve been approached of late by several Gopher women’s basketball fans. I listen attentively but with a non-committal demeanor as they complain about the current head coach. And as much as they’d hoped I would agree with them, thus far I have avoided such traps. Let me be perfectly clear — I don’t advocate for any coaches losing their jobs. It’s so easy for non-coaches, eh, fans to give ziggies from their seats. Continue Reading →

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Local civil rights leader Matthew Little passes



By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

Matt Little is gone, leaving a legendary legacy. He was widely renowned and will be well remembered as a Civil Rights Era icon who held a soul-deep commitment to empowering the African American community. Graduating North Carolina A&T State University in 1948, he relocated to the Twin Cities and, in 1954 became a board member of the Minneapolis NAACP, beginning a lifelong dedication to the organization. During his career, he was president of that chapter as well as president of the Minnesota state NAACP. Far from being a figurehead, Little was hands-on and counted among his most prized memories filing a federal lawsuit to integrate the Minneapolis Fire Department. Continue Reading →

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Financial disaster for Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

When Douglass Mann filed his motion with the Minnesota Supreme Court, early Friday morning, January 10, 2014, no one knew his motion was being sent to the State Supreme Court, raising serious constitutional issues with regard to the funding of the $1 billion “people’s stadium.”

As of the writing of this column, three days after the filing, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) did one of the most peculiar things in the modern legal history of Minnesota: asked to be a defendant in this landmark constitutional case, peculiar because one thing that never happens in America is for people to rush into court to be a defendant, especially when there are allegations of constitutional violations. Besides obviously believing they can’t/won’t lose, the MSFA is employing a shrewd strategy: requesting that the Minnesota Supreme Court impose a $50 million bond upon the Mann group to stop their pursuit seeking justice and fairness for the taxpayers of the City of Minneapolis, and, by extension, the taxpayers of Minnesota, The MSFA, in about 16 months or less, has gone through $74 million, including the $50 million in cash provided by Ziggy Wilf and the Minnesota Vikings. Before the Supreme Court does anything, it should require a forensic audit as to how the MFSA conducted its business from July of 2012 through December of 2013, and how it has spent its money ($74 million) and doesn’t have money to pay the bills due ($28 million) later this month (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board says one in three company audits have “high levels of deficiencies.” How high for government agencies?). The MSFA is paying more for the foreign steel they purchased than they are confirming, and have apparently consummated contracts that are $50 million beyond what they have ever had in their bank accounts. And Thursday evening, Jan 9, MSFA Equity Director Alex Tittle not only pointed out that 46 percent of current stadium work force were women and minorities (hard to believe), but that “to date more than $120 million have been awarded in contracts.” Really? Continue Reading →

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‘Mostly White hiring’ remains the unspoken rule in college athletics

Sometimes an apology is worse than whatever it was intended to make amends for.  Take the case of Texas billionaire and former Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs. McCombs twice opened his mouth last week with somewhat controversial results.  He first told a San Antonio radio station that the new University of Texas Head Football Coach Charlie Strong would “make a good position coach, maybe a coordinator.”

Later that same week, McCombs apologized and told a San Antonio newspaper that he didn’t think his comments about Strong were racial. Strong is one of only 12 Black Division I head football coaches that started and finished the recent 2013 season. “I didn’t even think about that,” added McCombs. “I’m not sure I knew anything about the race issue…”

What do you expect from an 80-something White man? Continue Reading →

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