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New bio omits NFL experience

2/17/2005 - Minnesota Vikings

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.