Comments from Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway about fans getting drunk for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears took on a life of their own.
Greenway, who often playfully needles reporters, says he was joking around with reporters in the locker room last Sunday after the Vikings' 23-14 loss at Lambeau Field. For two days, the comments essentially simmered, but when the Star Tribune published his comments Tuesday in a story about the importance of the Vikings needing a win at Mall of America Field, Greenway started taking the bullets of criticism from bloggers.
With a 6-6 record and falling to 10th place in the NFC playoff seedings, which would put them out of the playoffs, Greenway knows the team's must-win situation and jokingly encouraged fans to drink and be ready to help out the team.
"We have to play accordingly and our fans have to show up accordingly, which we know they will. Hopefully, they're super-duper drunk. … So drink liquor, not beer," Greenway said Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.
"Yeah, I would say morning drinking. Why not? You could pull an all-nighter. Then you'd have the drunk, tired guys who will really be obnoxious."
Greenway says the comments were made "tongue-in-cheek," and knowing his tendency to joke and jab with just about anyone around, it's easy to believe his intent. But he also realizes now that not everyone knows the intent.
"Obviously if I could go back, I would probably use my words a little more responsibly. I understand there are some people that are sensitive to some issues and not others. You've just got to take those into account," Greenway said.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk encouraged the NFL to levy a fine against Greenway.
"The league's best response is simple. Greenway should be super duper fined, and any player who makes similar remarks in the future should be treated the same way," Florio wrote, noting a problem with binge drinking on society.
Greenway knew on Thursday he was getting hammered by some for his comments and may have offended some with his comments.
"I think by the use of ‘super-duper' you could probably assume it was tongue-in-cheek. It's hard for the people that aren't in the locker room to know the players," said Greenway, who didn't seem affected by the criticism Friday. "The beat writers that know what some of those guys are like … for me, obviously I said it in a joking manner and just probably need to use my words a little more responsibly."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.