An Inconvenient Truth

We didn't have a photo of Al Gore in our archive, so here's one of the guy who beat him in the 2000 election. As a native Texan, his dislike for Oklahoma may pursuade him to pardon those who have taken Adrian Peterson's name and likeness on the Internet -- an Al Gore invention that he may someday regret.

Want to have some fun? Do a "Google" search of Adrian Peterson. Below a link that will show you photos of the Vikings' first-round draft pick, you will find a website called adrian-peterson.com.

The first thing you see is the website banner – with a photo of Peterson in what would look to be game action with the University of Oklahoma. He's fully padded, ball tucked, whole nine yards.

Drop down below the 30-point type claiming the domain name is a "fan site," the next sentence you read is as follows:

"Disclaimer: This site is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by [comma missing] the University of Oklahoma, nor Adrian Peterson, nor anyone associated with the Oklahoma Sooner football team nor [sic – no "the" in the sentence] Minnesota Vikings."

Perhaps the first question one might ask would perhaps be "why would such a lengthy website called adrian-peterson.com have no affiliation with Peterson whatsoever?" Clearly not even a distant shoestring relative is involved. Next question?

The site is selling trading cards under the name Meni, Inc – which will allow you to make secure transactions to buy Peterson cards in groups of five for $25 or $30 a pop via the ever-popular Pay Pal (a trusted name in web-commerce). Next question? Why is this site called adrian-peterson.com?

Why is a site not affiliated with Adrian Peterson selling advertising to other websites selling trading cards and other assorted sports memorabilia? Does the non-affiliation disclaimer preclude Peterson, the Vikings, the NFL or anyone who sang "Boomer Sooner" for asking for a cut of the profits? Who knows? Next question?

Click on the "Adrian Peterson Pictures" link and what will you find? A link to NFLSHOP.com to buy replica home and road jerseys, but the tag line, "No matter where Adrian Peterson goes, you will be able to listen to all his games with Sirius Satellite Radio. All NFL games!!" It should be noted that the double exclamation points were inserted by the authors. VU frowns on exclamations points, much less a deuce. New linked advertising sites are included – highlighted by two sites to annoy friends and business associates with a "Boomer Sooner" ringtones. Next question?

Who took photos of A.P. at Winter Park? Interesting to those who look out for A.P.'s interest, there is a five-photo gallery of shots of Peterson from minicamp. For not being in any way affiliated with the Vikings, being inside Winter Park – for the record, I was there – to shoot those photos would seem to be a pre-requisite. The Vikes don't have to like you – ask any columnist for the Star-Trib or P-2 – to allow you access to minicamps and OTAs. But they have to know you before you waltz in and start taking action shots. With no affiliation, how did adrian-peterson.com's press corps get credentials? As an aside, if you're looking for Raider jerseys, you can find them on this page. Next question? Why is "StubHub" affiliated with a non-affiliated site? Next (bigger) question?

What can I find at A.P.'s video page? Among other things, advertisements for cleaning up the worst messes with the help of Mr. Clean, a football training video from a company that is unaware how "school" is accurately spelled and – don't quit reading this to go to the site just yet – the chance to download "Free Ski Movies!!" I put those two exclamation points in despite VU's policy against such heresy. Next question?

Did FOX Sports sign off on the video use of an advertisement-selling website to use Peterson's appearance on the FSN show "Best Damn Sports Show Period?" (Note: we're not sure if BDSSP puts an exclamation point in the show name, but here's hoping not). Next question?

Why don't the college school links work on the A.P. stat page? Click on stats and then attempt to go to the opponent website. Sad as it is, java.lang, as Ricky Ricardo would say, "has some ‘splaining to do." Whether opponents like Bowling Green or bitter rival Texas, they're not signing on to link to an unaffiliated website. Good for them. Next question?

Why when you click on the "GoBig.Fathead.com" link, do you get a great nostril-shot of LaBron James? Is he affiliated with the site A.P. has nothing to do with? Hmmm. Next question?

How can I get Adrian Peterson wallpaper? What? Are you kidding? Where else? In fact, one of the cooler wallpaper offerings is one of A.P. photoshopped over the Minneapolis skyline holding up a jersey that clearly says "1" (by the way, I was there when that photo was taken, too) with a tagline saying "All Day 28" – a reference to his college days at OU. Can I steal that phrase and trademark it? Probably already been done by the brain trust at adrian-peterson.com. Next question?

Why, when I drop my cursor down the screen, do I find out there is another website called adpeterson.com? It just gets curiouser and curiouser. Next question?

Why does the unaffiliated A.P. website's personal blog have as a header "Americans spend as much on adult entertainment as they do on professional sporting events?" Is that manifesto profound in some way? Sports or porn? Don't make us choose. Next question?

Tell me there's not a website called adrianpeterson.28.com? Ouch. Not only is there such a site, it has joined forces with adrian-peterson.com in advertising-laden man-love for A.P. That's genuine man-on-man affection. Next question?

Word on the street (or at least adrianpeterson.28.com) is that A.P.'s only autograph signing in the "southwest" will be in Plano, Texas on June 22. What if you can't make it there? There's a phone number you can call to have an unknown "friend" get that bad boy done for you. Next question?

Should that same signing "opportunity" be claiming in yellow type with a link to a FOX Sports story that Peterson is a "Potential Hall of Famer" before he's played a down? Ponderable? O.K. maybe I'm nitpicking now, but it is a tad askew. Next question?

I'm tiring of questions, but one more has to come to mind. At the home page of the site is a photo suitable for framing of Peterson and Zygi Wilf. It's uncredited, so I hoped by clicking on the photo, I would find which member of the staff took such a perfect photo. Instead, NFLSHOP.com was my companion. I think I would have remembered a photographer from that website by his long lens and oversized red foam OU hat. Guess I missed him. Who took that award-winning photo? No red-eye. No eyes closed. No broccoli in the teeth. It was perfect. I'd like to shake the hand of that award-winning lensman. I was there. I had the chance. Who was he?

We shouldn't shed tears for Peterson. He's going to make a ton of cash. Apparently so will the purveyors of websites that profit from his name and/or likeness. To be honest, I am interested in downloading free ski video, but that's my cross to bear. The experience was a positive for me. But who's to blame for such a system that allows such legal identity theft? Al Gore. He invented the Internet and now the chickens have come home to roost. An inconvenient truth indeed.

Viking Update Top Stories