Don't believe what your read, Green tells Tagliabue
Nov. 01, 1997
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Don't believe what you read. That's the message Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green had for NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
In a letter to the commissioner, Green promised he won't try to sue for control of the team, a threat Green made in the final chapter of his autobiography, ``No Room for Crybabies.''
Green said he misjudged reaction to the controversial chapter, in which he detailed a plan to buy at least 30 percent interest in the team, suing two or more of the team's 10 owners for that share if need be.
``I assure you that I have no intention of trying to force my way into the Vikings' ownership or pressuring any owners to sell an interest to me,'' Green said in his letter. ``I intend to focus for the remainder of the season on leading the Vikings to the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl.''
Tagliabue also told Green and Vikings president Roger Headrick on Friday that any disputes between the coach and the team that cannot be resolved should be submitted to the commissioner for arbitration after the Vikings' season ends.
That is the most definitive sign yet that Green might not be back in 1998 to fulfill the final year on his contract, for which he is scheduled to earn $900,000.
In a prepared statement, Tagliabue urged Green and the Vikings to end their public comments on the book. He will consider all future comments ``conduct detrimental'' to the team and the league.
Citing that directive, owner John Skoglund declined comment. Neither Headrick nor Philip Maas, chairman of the team's board, returned phone calls Friday night.
The Vikings also released a statement Friday about the sale of the team.
The statement said this week's revelation that the team was for sale, and details about that process, violated confidentiality agreements with prospective buyers. Five suitors, three that would move the team and two that would keep it in Minnesota, have talked with the team over the past two months.
Friday's statement reiterated the owners' ``strong preference'' to keep the team in Minnesota, where it has played since joining the NFL as an expansion team in 1961.
The three groups that would move the team represent Toronto, Los Angeles and Birmingham, Ala. Former Vikings general manager Mike Lynn and San Antonio Spurs founder Red McCombs would keep the team in Minnesota. McCombs has offered $150 million for the team, an offer that was rejected.
Skoglund said no other potential buyers have come forward since the sale became public Wednesday, but he anticipated more local interest.
``There very well could be somebody, one or two more people locally, that we haven't heard of yet,'' Skoglund said.