Rich Gabrielson/Viking Update

Randy Moss discusses NFL, character issues and Minnesota Vikings

Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback caught up with Randy Moss to discuss an array of topics this week. As usual, Moss didn't disappoint.

When former Minnesota Vikings great Randy Moss got a job with FOX Sports as an analyst, some wondered how he would perform. Given his often petulant relationship with the media, there were many questions concerning how his attitude might transfer to television.

Not only does Moss bring strong opinions to the table, he has also displayed a sense of humor most fans and many media didn’t get a chance to see during his playing days. He has become an on-air talent to the point that he is rumored to be heading to ESPN this fall as part of its pregame NFL coverage.

Moss was tracked down by Sports Illustrated’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” on the islands of Turks and Caicos, located 40 miles from Bermuda in the Caribbean Ocean. He’s teaching the locals about American football and was asked a wide-ranging collection of questions and he has his share of hot takes on the issues of the day.

Much like Charles Barkley redefined the role of the analyst on NBA coverage – Chuck tells it like it is whether anyone else likes it or not – Moss has strong opinions and isn’t shy to disagree with the prevailing opinion on topics.

MMQB was all over the board, from the NFL turning a blind eye to marijuana because isn’t performance-enhancing on the field, taking plays off and the wide receivers he likes in the current NFL.

When asked about recent trend of players looking to get more of their money guaranteed when signing contracts, Moss took a view more in siding with management. After seeing how the NBA has created Super Teams and Major League Baseball has become the land of dead money, Moss took a thoughtful approach (and well thought out) as to why the NFL shouldn’t follow the failed path of sports that have paid out billions to players who aren’t playing and make trades based upon unloading dead-money contracts – much less the number of players that would fall under that umbrella.

“I think when you are dealing with the NBA and you are dealing with MLB, they don’t have that many guys to account for,” Moss said. “When you are dealing with the NFL, you are dealing with (53 players). If you are going to guarantee one man’s contract, that means you have to guarantee everybody’s contract. I think the game is still cool with guaranteeing your signing bonus and getting as much money as you can and then playing out the remaining years of your contract to get the remainder of your money. I think if you start guaranteeing everyone’s contract it will start to become a problem because guys get hurt and guys have problems. When you are dealing with (53 players)? and guaranteeing everyone’s contract, that’s when it becomes a problem. I think if it’s not broke, then don’t fix it. There are a lot of changes going on right now and I think from a business standpoint, there are some things that need to be changed, but not guaranteeing contracts. Signing bonuses are the way to get your money.”

While the guaranteed money question was hypothetical, the issue of character ran right into the face of Moss.

There is no video of Randy in the draft-day Green Room waiting and waiting and waiting. Aaron Rodgers can speak to that. As can Brady Quinn’s eye-rolling fiancée.

Moss wasn’t invited. When Viking Update asked him at the time why that was, Moss said, “The NFL wants nothing to do with Randy Moss.”

Eighteen years later, when asked about character issues with the next generation of NFL players, Moss gave an answer that resonates – once again, whether you like the answer or not.

“My definition of ‘character issues’ is based on if a guy is hurting his teammates,” Moss said. “I think when you are caught on camera smoking something or slamming a six-pack of beer, that’s not a character issue. I think if a guy is out there driving under the influence, beating women or doing something that will really hurt others, that’s where you have to be able to draw the line. I don’t know what (Laremy Tunsil) was smoking in the video on social media, but he wasn’t hurting nobody. He was just doing it to himself. So people are calling that a character issue? That’s not a character issue; the young man is just being himself. There are a lot worse things out there that people can put on social media. I think the impact is based on hurting anybody else and putting anybody else’s life at risk. There are certain things where you have to draw the line. But there is going to be something new every year, so get ready for this story for next year.”

No scattergun interview would be complete without bringing up the deaths of the recent shootings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castille, followed by the shooting of five police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally.

In the aftermath, NBA star Carmelo Anthony took to Instagram to call upon athletes to “step up take charge” of the situation. Moss has been there and lived through that long before the most recent generation of injustice spoke up.

“I’m a little different than guys like Carmelo,” Moss said. “I was born and raised in rural West Virginia, so when it comes to voicing your opinion or standing up for your community, that is something I have always stood for my whole life. So Carmelo isn’t talking to me. I know who I am and I know what I do, I know what I represent in my community. I think that when you see the comment from Carmelo Anthony, I think others do need to take heed from it and understand really what is going on. I’m not talking just about the race factor; there’s a lot going on out there other than the race thing. I think what Carmelo was getting to is that a lot of these black athletes are out there making a lot of money and doing a lot of things, but when it comes to situations like these, they go run and hide. I definitely understand where he is coming from, but he wasn’t talking to me.”

When the topic returned to football, Moss was asked which rookie wide receiver he liked. Turns out, he liked what the Vikings did ahead of the rest.

“I like the pickup that the Minnesota Vikings made in Laquon Treadwell because he has a quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater,” Moss said. “Sometimes you have to look at the quarterback, because there could be a wide receiver who goes to a team where the quarterback may not be that good in terms of arm strength. And sometimes a quarterback may go to a team where the wide receivers really aren’t that good. But I think when you look at Laquon Treadwell going to Minnesota, that’s a good situation. Teddy Bridgewater is going into his third season, and he’s had his feet wet a little bit and has the ability to understand how to move the ball down the field. I am definitely waiting to see how that is going to play out.”

Whether fans agree or disagree with Moss on his assessments, one thing isn’t going to change – Moss will keep speaking his mind. It’s up to the rest of us to decide whether we agree with his takes or not.


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