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Vikings’ Randle Criticized for Ad

September 29, 1998

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) _ After Tuesday’s practice, the Minnesota Vikings had fried chicken for lunch. Later, an animal rights group criticized John Randle for picking on that segment of the poultry family.

No, the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doesn’t care what Randle eats. PETA is upset by a popular television commercial in which the All-Pro defensive tackle chases a chicken that is wearing the No. 4 jersey of Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre.

``Why the big flap?″ asks the group’s news release. ``The commercial mimics what psychologists now see as a sign of criminal mentality, in that pleasure is apparently derived from trauma inflicted on a vulnerable animal.″

The group contends that studies indicate such behavior ``shows a consistent pattern of cruelty to animals among perpetrators of violence toward humans.″ The group is careful to point out it is not accusing Randle of criminal behavior, but it believes the commercial sends the wrong message to children.

In the ad, Randle sews a miniature Favre jersey and then is seen chasing a chicken wearing the jersey. The spot ends with Randle standing over a grill preparing chicken.

The group wants Nike, the commercial’s sponsor, to pull the ad, which is one in a series that includes spots by NFL stars Jerome Bettis and Kordell Stewart. The company has no plans to pull Randle’s commercial, said spokesman Scott Reames.

``This has been an overwhelmingly popular ad,″ Reames said. ``In fact, the whole series of ads has been very well received. We certainly understand and respect the concerns that PETA has expressed, but we feel the commercial does not condone violence. It’s meant to be a humorous way an athlete might prepare for a game.″

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