McKinnie, Smoot plead guilty, apologize
By STEVE KARNOWSKI
Associated Press Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot and left tackle Bryant McKinnie pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor charges stemming from the team’s raucous boat party last October.
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.
"Hopefully, next year’s party will be at the children’s hospital," prosecutor Steve 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 Cruises.
"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 League."
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 this season.
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 on Lake Minnetonka on Oct. 5. 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. Former Viking Moe Williams was convicted of disorderly conduct last month. Similar charges were dismissed against quarterback Daunte Culpepper, now with the Miami Dolphins, after a judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence.