Friday, May 26, 2006
Smoot, McKinnie plead guilty in party-boat case
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot and left tackle Bryant McKinnie pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor charges in the team's boat party scandal. Each agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 48 hours of community service.
Smoot and McKinnie pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance on a watercraft. The second charge will be removed from their records if they stay out of trouble for a year.
They each got the same deal, prosecutor Steve Tallen said.
"Hopefully, next year's party will be at the children's
hospital," Tallen said.
Smoot had been scheduled to go on trial Tuesday in Hennepin
County District Court. McKinnie had been set for trial July 7.
Neither player was in court Friday.
Smoot, through his lawyer, apologized to the family of Vikings
owner Zygi Wilf, the team's coaches and fans, the people of
Minnesota and the employees of Al and Alma's Restaurant and
"I used poor judgment and take responsibility for my actions,"
Smoot said. "I have learned a valuable lesson. I regret tarnishing
the reputation of the Minnesota Vikings and the National Football
McKinnie said: "I want to be an example of everything that is
good about the Vikings and the state of Minnesota."
Wilf said the boat party was "not consistent with the values
and high standards that we expect and demand of everyone associated
with our organization."
Wilf said the two players, in addition to their required
community service, would participate in numerous service events
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said fines are likely, declining to
say for how much or how long the process will take. He said the
players won't be suspended.
Because Smoot and McKinnie are being disciplined by the league,
the Vikings are precluded by the NFL's labor agreement from
imposing their own discipline.
Smoot was charged with using a sex toy on two female dancers in front of crew members during the cruise, while McKinnie had been accused of performing oral sex on a dancer in a public area of the boat.
Smoot and McKinnie were among four players charged in the case. Former Viking Moe Williams was convicted of disorderly conduct last
month, while former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper had
similar charges dismissed.