Well just as I thought here is the REAL STORY, (this article is appearing in tomorrows Minneapolis Star Tribune) I'm really trying hard to with-hold a big I TOLD YOU SO!!!!.........DAunte is the man!!
Culpepper blindsided by erroneous reporting
February 4, 2005 SUPE0204.DIARY
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. -- This is what happens when there is too much media and not enough stories.
One of the NFL's most genuine and kind players carried out a genuinely kind act Wednesday. And what did Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper get for his thoughtfulness?
National scorn, thanks to an Associated Press reporter who misinterpreted the scene and never bothered to follow up with the key players.
Here's what happened: While participating in a news conference Wednesday, Culpepper fielded an awkward question from a paralyzed 17-year-old boy. "Hey Daunte," said J.T. Townsend. "Can I get some ice?" -- a reference to the $100,000, diamond-encrusted necklace around Culpepper's neck.
With cameras rolling, Culpepper walked over to Townsend and thrilled him by hanging the necklace around his neck. Later, Culpepper sought out Townsend and put the chain back on. At Culpepper's request, Townsend's parents wrote down his address and contact information. Culpepper promised to send him gifts and memorabilia.
We were standing at Culpepper's side when the transaction took place. There was no animosity, no hurt feelings and no accusations of impropriety -- only thank-yous from Townsend, his parents and a doctor nearby.
The AP version of the story, however, in essence painted Culpepper as a spoiled athlete who "sheepishly" took away a gift from a paralyzed teenager once the cameras stopped shooting. Newspapers and Internet sites picked up the story nationally. One problem: Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Anyone who has met Culpepper knows he wears the necklace every day. He has for years. Garish as it might be -- its main ornament is a 6-inch hot pepper -- it carries sentimental and personal value. Since when is anyone -- athlete, actor, politician or average schmoe -- obligated to hand over personal possessions permanently when someone asks? Or should Culpepper have shot down the request and embarrassed Townsend on television?
If that's your story, then the next time someone asks you for your wedding ring or a sweater your grandmother knitted, you better cough it up. Or else find some real news to write about.