New bio omits NFL experience

Updated: February 17, 2005, 1:24 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- Two days after he was introduced as the prospective new owner of the Minnesota Vikings, Reggie Fowler found himself scrambling to correct inaccuracies in an official biography.

Fowler, a former University of Wyoming linebacker, acknowledged Wednesday that he hadn't played in the NFL or CFL, as the bio claimed. He also didn't play in the Little League World Series as an 11-year-old, he said.

Fowler said he hadn't seen the biography before it was distributed, and said he had directed his public relations firm to address problems with it.

"I realized that there was some confusion surrounding my background, and I wanted to make perfectly clear the facts of who I am and what I have done," Fowler was quoted as saying in Thursday's St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I regret that a draft copy of my biography was issued, and I want to make sure the facts on my background are clear.''

Fowler, 46, was introduced Monday at a news conference to announce a tentative $625 million deal for him to acquire the Vikings from Red McCombs. If NFL owners approve the sale, he would become the NFL's first black owner.

"I want your city to like me," Fowler told the Star Tribune, which first reported the story. "I want to have credibility."

A call from The Associated Press to Fowler's Arizona office was referred to his spokeswoman. The spokeswoman, Leslie Kupchella, didn't return calls to her office or cell phone. She told the Star Tribune that a new "Reggie Fowler Fact Sheet" was issued Tuesday with some changes that resulted from "conversations" with Fowler.

The fact sheet was posted on the Web site of a public relations clearinghouse, but wasn't distributed by fax or e-mail to either AP or the Star Tribune.

The new sheet includes no Little League mention. It also clarified his college degree.

Where the original biography said Fowler's "passion for numbers" led him to "pursue a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance," the revised fact sheet said his degree came in social work.

It also clarified that Fowler only attended training camp with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals but still included playing in 1983 for the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. Fowler, in his brief interview, with the Star Tribune, said he was in training camp with the Stampeders but didn't make the team.

Chris Downs, a spokesman for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., told the Star Tribune he examined rosters and teams from the late 1960s and early 1970s, about the period when Fowler would have been the right age to play, after reading news stories on the tentative sale of the Vikings.

"I'm quite certain he didn't participate in the Little League World Series," Downs told the paper Wednesday. "I'm confident in saying that's inaccurate."

Fowler told the Star Tribune that the "World Series" he played in was the Tucson, Ariz., area youth baseball all-star game. "That's what we call it in our hometown," he said.

NFL owners are scheduled to meet in March in Hawaii; league rules require 24 of the 32 owners to approve a sale.

His Spiral Inc., based in Chandler, Ariz., has divisions that include real estate, aviation, manufacturing, agricultural, entertainment and banking industries.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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