You really can't blame Randy Moss for not being a big ambassador of the NFL. After all, when he was drafted, he wasn't invited by the league to be in New York City for a grip-and-grin photo op with Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. At the time, the league was still grimacing over the Lawrence Phillips debacle and viewed a player like Moss as a poison pill for a league built on trying to make role models.
While Moss and Phillips are about as similar as their NFL careers, Moss has held a deep resentment over the dissing the league gave him -- something that wasn't made easier when he tore up the league as a rookie and was used in NFL promotional spots. It would seem the NFL has decided to make him an example regardless of the interest he has helped create in professional football by merely being one of the most talented athletes on the planet.
His first serious brush with the league came from his own doing -- a punkish spraying of a water bottle at an official during the 1999 postseason loss to St. Louis. However, since then he has been singled out for actions that have drawn fines for little or no provocation. The one that stands out most was a $15,000 fine for touching an official following a hideous call in which he wasn't being violent or even aggressive. He was just Randy Moss and apparently that is enough.
VU has learned that Moss is going to be levied a $10,000 fine by the league -- most likely today -- for, of all things, wearing a hat on the sidelines. The NFL is extremely protective of its franchising rights -- which makes one wonder if AC/DC or Guns-N-Roses are paid royalties when the Metrodome sound system blares out their songs during games -- and the league has a zero tolerance policy in relation to its set-in-stone uniform code.
During Friday's game, while on the sidelines, Moss wore a hat that the league has deemed in violation of its uniform code -- essentially saying if the NFL doesn't make money off of it, you can't wear it.
VU was told Moss was warned about the apparel, which he and his agent say isn't a product endorsement, but a lid he has worn for several years. A league source contacted by VU said Moss was threatened with a $10,000 fine if he violated the uniform code and he did Friday, so it is expected that the league will impose the fine this week.
Sure, a guy with a $75 million contract in his pocket isn't going to eat macaroni and cheese for a week over a $10,000 fine, but at some point the question has to be asked -- is Moss being singled out? It would seem so.
* The Vikings are still mulling over 13 cuts that need to be made by Tuesday. While it was thought at least some of the cuts would be made Saturday or Sunday, VU has been told potential free agent signings (one or more) have been the hold-up and that the cuts will be made prior to the league-imposed deadline.
* As much complaining as has been levied at the Vikings defense, Peyton Manning isn't talking smack. He was seen at Colts practice Sunday wearing a knee brace, thanks to a scary hit from Chris Hovan Friday night. In one half of work, Manning was knocked to the turf 12 times -- not a good sign for Colts fans who have never seen Manning sidelined with an injury, but good news for Vikes fans who want to see an aggressive defense that can help win games this season.
* Of the Vikings' 16 opponents on the 2001 schedule, 12 of them had a record of 9-7 or better last season. The other four are Carolina (7-9), Jacksonville (7-9) and Chicago (5-11, who the Vikes play twice).
Moss, NFL Continue To Be At Odds
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