Saturday, May 27, 2006

Smoot, What A Hoot Part III

'tis always better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!

After vociferously denying organizing and participating in a sex party on Al & Alma's Tour Boats, former Redskin Fred Smoot copped a plea. A plea bargain, that is, to go along with an apology to the universe for bad behavior.

It's a truism in Washington that "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up." The lesson being that public figures are much better off acknowledging moral lapses and moving on, than to deny and get trapped by the facts in the end. It's a lesson unheeded, as repeatedly shown by Watergate, Iran-Contragate and Monicagate. If Fredgate occurred on the Potomac rather than Lake Minnetonka, someone might have given Smoot a hoot about that.

Or better, somebody on the Vikings should have told Fred that he wasn't in a big eastern city any more. This is small stuff for a jaded town like Washington. Any big city man who's been to a gentleman's club might have witnessed whatever occurred on that party boat without second thought, especially since the, er, "ladies" involved were willing participants. The problem is that the incident happened in a nice town on a nice boat crewed by nice people. Minnesota is a God-fearing, church-going, family-oriented community whose progressive tolerance masks a conservative core. Discretion is advised; but if caught with your pants down (so to speak), don't deny what you are guilty of!

No good defense lawyer would ever allow a client to admit to anything. It's better to shut up and let your lawyer do all the talking.

So Fred must endure a measure of derision he might have avoided absent his initial denial. Not to worry, Fred. It won't last long. If you are a producer, sports forgives quick.

"Smoot and McKinnie were among four players charged with disorderly conduct. Former Viking Moe Williams was convicted of disorderly conduct last month. Similar charges were dismissed against quarterback Daunte Culpepper, now with the Miami Dolphins, after a judge ruled there wasn't enough evidence." -- Steve Karnowski, The Associated Press, May 26, 2006

The women involved were not the one's pressing charges. The prosecutor did after receiving complaints from the operators of Al & Alma's Tours.

For the Vikings, this stuff was supposed to end when they traded supposed bad boy Randy Moss to Oakland in 2005. To trade Moss cheap and still suffer scandal must double their embarrassment.

And why is all this a hoot? Because there are more serious stories out there, like Timmy Smith and Sean Taylor.

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