NFL Sullies Stringer

The family of Korey Stringer may have a second suit pending if the wrongful death suit falls through, as the NFL soils the name of the late Viking.

The NFL at times can insinuate things that can infuriate the casual fan, much less the hard-core fan. Thursday, they did it.

When Korey Stringer died last August, rumors circulated that Stringer had taken the weight-loss amphetamine ephedra. Commentators like Bill O'Reilly -- formerly of shows like "Inside Edition (a poor man's "Hard Copy") and now of a Fox News show called "The O'Reilly Factor" -- spread unfounded rumors that Stringer was on ephedra and it led to his death.

Apparently O'Reilly had to stick his snout into Stringer's death -- an action villified at the time by VU -- claiming unsubstantiated stories that Stringer was taking ephedra before his death.

The record is clear that at Stringer's autopsy, which can find trace amounts of any drug in the system, no signs of ephedra were found. That said, the announcement Thursday that the NFL will start testing players for ephedra was as shocking, because, unlike "talk first, think later" commentators like O'Reilly, the NFL should know better.

In a statement released Thursday about the implementation of the ephedra testing, Players Association chief Gene Upshaw said the Stringer death was an "eye-opener" about the abuse of the drug.

It bears repeating that no traces of ephedra were found in the blood or tested organs of Stringer and, unless that information was concealed, there is no proof he took the drug, much less abused it.

For those who miss Stringer, running his name through the mud to use as an example of why the testing should be done is misguided at best and actionable at worst.

Rest in peace, Big K.

* Carl Eller may have been dissed by the Hall of Fame, but, Nov. 10, he will enter the Vikings Ring of Fame at a ceremony at the Metrodome when the Vikings play the Giants. Like so many other Vikings, apparently not winning a Super Bowl is all that has kept a handful of Vikings out of Canton, Ohio, but at least he will get his proper respect from the team -- long overdue.
* The Vikes have hired Jamaal Stephenson as the team's East Coast scout of collegiate talent.
* Randy Moss may have set a huge contract precedent. VU sources in San Francisco say that one of the reasons Terrell Owens is toiling in mediocrity in the USBL with the always popular Adirondack Wildcats is an attempt to get a huge career-deciding contract from the 49ers or someone else to preclude him from such off-season activities. When Moss signed his deal, he had dabbled in semi-pro hoops and one of the first stipulations in the deal was that he quit playing basketball. Owens may be a punk, but he's not an idiot. Seeing as he puts up John Starks (on a bad night) numbers against guys who will only see the NBA from Section 103, it's clear he's using the same ploy as Moss -- sign me to a big deal and hoops won't be a big deal.

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