Bryant McKinnie (Jim Mone/AP)
Peter King of Sports Illustrated had campaigned for a stiff fine for Bryant McKinnie missing the Pro Bowl. He used his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column this week to complain about the NFL’s decision, one that King considered far too light.
Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King isn’t finessing his analysis when it comes to Bryant McKinnie skipping out on the Pro Bowl. King is taking it right to the Vikings’ oversized left tackle when it comes to his Pro Bowl performance – or lack thereof – and the NFL’s response to it.
By now, the tale has been told repeatedly. McKinnie missed out on several Pro Bowl practices and there was a clear lack of communication, or at least timely communication, between McKinnie or his agent Drew Rosenhaus and the Cowboys’ coaching staff at the Pro Bowl. Here is how King described the sequence of events in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column.
“McKinnie openly campaigned on his Twitter feed to get votes for the game, then was voted into the game,” King wrote. “He didn't show up for Wednesday's mandatory practice and offensive line meeting. He arrived at Thursday's offensive-line meeting five minutes before the end of it, leaving the players in the room seething; if they had to be there, why didn't McKinnie? In the room were teammate Steve Hutchinson, who put off much-needed offseason shoulder surgery, and Giants tackle David Diehl, who
had painful patellar tendinitis. McKinnie didn't show up at all Friday for the meeting or practice. He did have the intelligence to Tweet about his nocturnal activities while in Miami.”
The last sentence refers to McKinnie Tweeting about a party he attended into the morning hours at The Mansion, a popular Miami nightclub. McKinnie has since confirmed his attendance there, but he said that had nothing to do with why he missed practices and meetings only days before the Pro Bowl.
Instead, McKinnie blamed injuries he suffered during the season and said he thought earlier in the week that he’d be able to get through them but later realized that he wouldn’t play after a cortisone-like shot he took before the NFC Championship Game began to wear off.
Last week, the NFL released a statement to Viking Update and other media outlets regarding the punishment it was handing out to McKinnie.
"As a result of his dismissal from the NFC Pro Bowl team prior to the game, Bryant McKinnie has forfeited his $22,500 game check and is required to reimburse the NFL for $4,285.13 for Pro Bowl expenses that he incurred,” the statement said. “The Competition Committee will review this matter to determine whether additional steps should be taken to deter this type of conduct at the Pro Bowl in the future."
That clearly wasn’t good enough for King, who offered these three reactions to it:
“1. Who in the world thought he was getting the $22,500 in the first place, after being whacked from the team the day before the game? That's no penalty. That's an expectation.
“2. Who in the world thought the NFL would have picked up his expenses for travel to and from and hotel room at a game he, of his own free will, did not participate in? Again, that's no penalty. I would expect the league would take expense money back from a person who didn't live up to his end of the expense deal.
“3. I do appreciate that the Competition Committee will now set some sort of sanction for Pro Bowl players who, for some incredibly immature reason, don't show up for practice or other team functions. But this deserved a $100,000 fine by (NFL commissioner Roger) Goodell.”
King admitted that the NFL has more important decisions to make this year, but there was no masking his feelings about its decision on this one.
“Bryant McKinnie spit in the face of the Pro Bowl, and the NFL whiffed on sanctioning him,” he concluded.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.