POSTED 11:11 a.m. EDT; LAST UPDATED 12:41 p.m. EDT, July 9, 2006
OUR POSITION ON PRIVACY
Mike Florio

We've gotten plenty of nasty e-mails from Vikings fans over the past few days in response to our decision to publicize comments from agent Alvin Keels indicating that his client, Minnesota receiver Koren Robinson, has returned to alcohol rehab. In the wake of Keels' statements, portions of the "real" media (such as the AP) have suggested that reports originating with Robinson's paid representative have been "over the top" -- and have given Robinson's version of the events the kind of "fair and balanced" reporting usually seen only on the FOX News Channel.

Some have even suggested that we owe Robinson an apology for intruding upon his private efforts to ensure that he doesn't fall victim to a relapse of alcohol abuse during the 2006 season.

Our response? Robinson is a public figure who plays a public game on a team that is trying to get public funding for a new stadium where plenty of members of the general public will cough up hard-earned money. Thus, Robinson -- and every other guy who plays or coaches pro football -- has forfeited any notion of privacy, especially as to matters that could affect their ability to give the members of the paying public their money's worth.

Besides, we don't recall Robinson (or anyone else) harping on his privacy interests when he entered rehab in 2005. Why was it not a big secret then? Because Robinson was a man without a team, and he needed to get the word out that he was trying to de-turd via detox.

"I hope teams are still interested in me," Robinson said in 2005. "I must show I can handle my business. I know I have a problem. This time, I checked myself in because I wanted to get help."

A year later, Robinson would prefer that no one talk about his history with the Reverend Al K. Hall. Not because Koren suddenly has gotten shy about his condition, but because he knows that his three-year deal with the Vikings is really a one-year contract with a team option on the next two, and he doesn't want to give the Vikings any reason to pass on the talented but enigmatic pass catcher.

The more we think about it, the more ridiculous we think it all is. Robinson's life was an open book when talking about his alcoholism might help him get paid; now that talking about his condition could impact his money, he wants his privacy.

It doesn't work that way, Koren. You're squarely in the public eye -- both when being there works to your benefit, and when it doesn't.



==============================================

POSTED 9:30 a.m. EDT, July 8, 2006

K-ROB SPEAKING WITH FORKED TONGUE?
Mike Florio

As Vikings receiver Koren Robinson provides more information to the media regarding his return to alcoholism treatment nearly a year after first entering rehab, we can't help but wonder whether Robinson is telling the truth.

In a follow-up article penned by Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Robinson downplays the situation. "I'm not in rehab; it's nothing like that," Robinson said. "I'm taking prevention classes so I won't have to go back to rehab or won't have a situation. I just wanted to get away, make sure I'm bulletproof. So I'm just trying to be proactive. When did it become not cool to be proactive?

"A class here, a class there," he said later in the article. "I'm just doing this and that's all. I wanted to do it on my schedule, but somebody got hold of [this information]. It's not like I goofed up or anything like that. That's not the case. I'm just trying to be proactive. Plain and simple, end of discussion."

Said Robinson to our new friends at the Associated Press, "I'm not in rehab. I'm still doing good. I'm still not drinking. I'm still working out. I'm still Koren, the cheerful, happy guy you all saw last year."

If Robinson is telling the truth, then his first order of business should be to go to his agent's office and kick him in the ass and/or the groin. Because it was agent Alvin Keels who told us on Thursday that Robinson is in rehab. In fairness to Keels, he wasn't being loose-lipped; he merely answered a direct question from us based on information we'd picked up from one of our sources.

Later on Thursday, after the poop hit the propeller, Keels confirmed it. "Is Koren Robinson in rehab or at a rehab facility? Yes," Keels told Zulgad in an item that ran on Friday.

So Keels said it, twice -- Robinson is in rehab. Now Robinson says, "I'm not in rehab." So which is it?

Given that Keels presumably is in position to know the truth and that Robinson has plenty of reasons to conceal it, we think Robinson is pulling a Fran Foley on this one.

Want more evidence? Keels specifically told us that Robinson can "leave whenever he wants"; that statement implies that he's receiving in-patient treatment, and it paints a far different picture than Robinson's explanation that he's taking "[a] class here, a class there" (unless Robinson was referring to the geography of the sessions, not the timing).

And there's more. In response to Robinson's claim that he hasn't been drinking, a league source tells us that Robinson was perceived to be partying at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, and that on at least one occasion during the postseason paid vacation he was perceived by others to be "sh-tfaced." (Obviously, we have no way of knowing with any degree of certainty that Robinson was actually drinking alcohol while in Honolulu or anywhere else, and we're not reporting that he was. We're merely relaying the opinions of others based on the things that they saw. Their opinions could be incorrect, and possibly could have been influenced by the widespread published accounts of Robinson's chronic struggles with alcohol before entering rehab in 2005.)

Even if Robinson hasn't had a relapse (and we truly hope that he hasn't), we don't believe that he has handled this matter as well as he could have. One league source who has been monitoring the situation agrees with us.

"That's why no one but the Vikings wanted the guy," opined the source.