<
>

Agent denies Smoot paid for Vikings boat party

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Investigators are looking into a
party attended by several Minnesota Vikings players that allegedly involved drunkenness, nudity and visible sexual activity on a pair of charter cruises last week.

No criminal charges had been filed as of Wednesday, and it could
take a couple of weeks before investigators finish interviewing
people who were on the boats, said Sgt. Haans Vitek of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. A police report was filed Sunday.

Vikings officials have been given the names of 17 players who may have been involved, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

"It doesn't make things any simpler," coach Mike Tice said about the situation Wednesday, "and quite frankly I'm not happy about it."

Stephen Doyle, an attorney representing the boats' owners, has
said cornerback Fred Smoot paid for one of the cruises last
Thursday on Lake Minnetonka. He said about 90 people were on the
boats, which returned to shore more than two hours earlier than
scheduled when crew members complained about lewd behavior.

Smoot's agent, Bus Cook, refuted Doyle's claims Wednesday night, telling ESPN.com's John Clayton that the cornerback didn't pay for any of the cruises.

"Fred Smoot did not pay for this boat trip in any way," Cook said. "He didn't write a check for it. He didn't put it on his credit card. He did not pay money in any regard for this trip."

Cook, however, didn't deny that Smoot was one of the players in attendance.


Doyle told KARE-TV that there was "no doubt" that Smoot paid for at least one of the boats.

"It was Mr. Smoot reserving and paying for this," Doyle told KARE. "I don't know if he actually visited or did it over the phone. And they know he was bringing some people to go out on the lake for the evening."

Once the boats left the shore, Doyle said women started stripping for some of the players, who put down money as the women danced.

Doyle says that escalated to players giving and receiving oral sex.

Tice, whose team has struggled to a 1-3 start this year, said
Wednesday that the latest distraction "can tear a team apart or
bring us together, and it's my job to bring the team together."

Smoot said Wednesday after practice that he was planning to take
legal action against whomever "put my name in there."

"They're killing my name," Smoot said as he walked to his car
in the parking lot. "Point blank. Somebody's going to have to pay
for it."

The team released a one-paragraph statement Tuesday saying:
"The organization has been made aware of the allegations involving
our players and we take these allegations very seriously. We are
working diligently to gather as many facts as possible. At this
time, we have no further comment."

The locker room was mostly empty Wednesday during the time it
was open to the media, and all the players who spoke refused to
comment on the outing. Running back Mewelde Moore said he was on
one of the boats, but saw none of the alleged behavior.

"That's crazy. Sex? Come on," said Moore, the team's leading
rusher with 187 yards.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf didn't return a phone call or an e-mail
requesting comment on the report.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.