Golden goofballs

Minnesota football teams produce twin dummies
By MATT TAIBBI  |  November 11, 2009


Yet another major-program football player walked the Taser plank this past week, though this one was called back from the edge just in time.

Freshman Minnesota Golden Gophers cornerback Michael Carter got busted for garden-variety teenage stupidity when he and fellow teammate Kenny Watkins decided to spend a late Sunday night drinking and picking fights with passers-by on the streets of Minneapolis. Police intervened and attempted to pat down Carter, who flipped out, refusing to put his hands on a wall and spinning around when cops grabbed his arm to subdue him.

This is the part of the story where the suspect continues to resist; the cops pull out a Taser and blast the guy; the suspect freaks out more, keeps resisting, and gets blasted again before getting cuffed. In this case, however, Carter apparently just settled down and let himself get taken in. Watkins, who cooperated with police, was let go.

Carter, who is 18, was charged with drinking and "obstructing the legal process." He wasn't suspended, though, so he'll probably skate on this one. Give him 21 points for drinking and being a dick.

Bust gets busted
Remember back in the earlier part of this decade, when the Minnesota Vikings had a crappy defensive line and were blowing high draft picks left and right on guys they were hoping could get to the opposing quarterback in less than nine seconds?

It was sort of the Minnesota version of the Detroit Lions' onetime fascination with first-round wide receivers. The Vikings' mania lasted for three straight years, and resulted in exactly one good decision, the 2003 drafting of Oklahoma State tackle Kevin Williams. Williams starred immediately and went on to pair up with Buffalo Bills importee Pat Williams to make up the now-vaunted Williams Wall on the Vikings defensive line.

The choices after Kevin Williams didn't turn out so well. In 2004, the Vikings drafted USC defensive end Kenechi Udeze 20th overall. Udeze was a four-year starter, and tied for the team lead in sacks in 2007. In February 2008, however, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He attempted a comeback after a bone-marrow transplant and chemotherapy, but ultimately retired this past July.

In 2005, the Vikings picked yet another defensive end in the first round, a Wisconsin kid named Erasmus James. James went 18th overall and had a decent rookie year, posting four sacks in 15 games. Then he tore up his ACL and was never the same. In 2008, he was shipped to the Redskins for a bag of peanuts (a conditional seventh-rounder), and cut after five games. In September, the NFL suspended him indefinitely for the usually ominous "undisclosed reasons."

Now James is showing up in the police logs. Last week, he was popped on battery charges for punching a friend in the face. James was back in Madison, at a bar called Wando's, when he was told that he couldn't get another drink. He started to flip out at the bartender, at which point a friend stepped in and tried to calm him down. According to witnesses, the friend pinned James to the floor (one would hope a former NFL defensive end would be rough enough to avoid being bar-whipped by a civilian), but was punched in the eye by him after getting up to walk away.

James was booked at the Dane County jail and released. A prosecutor will determine whether charges are warranted. Give him 27 points for drinking and being a little bit more of a dick than Carter. And Patriots fans who whine about draft misses like Chad Jackson and Laurence Maroney — observe this episode and take note. It sounds like blessing-counting time to me.

Matt Taibbi can be reached

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  Topics: Sports , Minnesota Golden Gophers, Vikings, Sports crimes,  More more >
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