Fred Smoot of the Washington Redskins (photo credit: Joe Murphy/Getty Images
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Minnesota Vikings sex boat scandal, and the media brouhaha it’s credited for creating, is the stuff of legend.
At the center of the storm, which blew through Lake Minnetonka on Oct. 6, 2005, stood Fred Smoot, who was in his first season with the Vikings at the time the incident occurred.
The thing about legend is, often times it’s rooted in hearsay, partial truths, or even outright lies that seem to cement themselves as fact in peoples’ brains as time passes.
Memories fade, the details become hazy, and inevitably people are left to believe what little they can hold onto, even if that’s a shell of the truth.
Now, eight years later, Fred Smoot, in speaking with 106.7 The Fan co-host Kevin Shafer, helped separate truth from that perceived reality Thursday, in what proved to be the most detailed account he’s ever given on-record of the happenings on that fateful boat ride.
Below are some of the more choice selections from Smoot’s nearly 14-minute recollection, with a few already-recorded facts sprinkled in.
“Were they regular ladies or were they paid-for ladies?” Shafer asked.
“What’s the difference between regular and paid-for,” Smoot sought clarification. “You pay for them at some point when you take them on dates.”
“I’m just wondering. You stop me if I cross the line,” Shafer said.
“Let’s use the word professional,” Smoot said.
“Alright, so they were professional?” he was asked.
“Some,” Smoot agreed. “It was a lot of regular girls on there. Some guys brought their girlfriends.”
“So how many girls you figure total on the boat,” Shafer asked. “20?”
“Let’s say a hundred,” Smoot said.
“Oh damn,” Shafer said. “That’s a ship! That’s not a boat.”
“So there’s probably a hundred chicks on the boat. How many players,” Shafer asked.
“I don’t want to disclose the number,” Smoot answered. “Let’s just say it was a team effort.”
“Alright. Okay. Let’s just say you were on the boat,” Shafer said.
“Some people say they saw me,” Smoot replied coyly.
A summons filed in Hennepin County, MN, alleged that Smoot, along with teammates Dante Culpepper, Bryant McKinnie and Moe Williams engaged in butt groping, sex toy usage, assorted oral favors and topless lap dancing with women on the boat, according to the criminal complaint outlined by the Smoking Gun [for the juicy recap, read Deadspin’s account of the evening].
Three of the four players (all except Culpepper) named in the complaint would be convicted on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, but the brunt of the public blame for the incident would rest on Smoot’s shoulders.
Crew members, according to the complaint, said everything seemed relatively normal until the boat left the dock, at which point female passengers began “going down into a lower restroom area and changing out of the clothes that they had been wearing when they got on the boat, and were emerging either scantily clad or nearly naked.”
So why was Smoot fingered as the ringleader of this Week 5 bye week team-building affair?
Because he was the first one to put his name to paper.
“You would have thought that I had been drafted a Viking, been leading the Vikings for the last eight years to championships, because I totally got blamed for it and this is why,” Smoot explained.
“They thought we was gonna throw it in an undisclosed place and just rent the whole place and let nobody in. Well that fell through and so then it was like, we gotta figure something out.”
“Was this a holiday,” Shafer asked.
“No it was the bye week,” Smoot said. “Yea, so then they were like alright, we sitting over there with a couple guys trying to plan it out, and here come my big mouth. ‘Well how ’bout we throw it on some yachts.’ They were like ‘Well alright man, just call us and get it ready.’”
“So it wasn’t a charity event,” Shafer said.
“No, it was a charity event actually,” Smoot defended. “Yea, we wore our pink. It was for breast cancer.
“Then I made the phone call. This is what made me infamous. I make the call to the boating company, and they was like, ‘Yea no problem man, just leave us a credit card.’ And guess what I did? Left my credit card in my name.”
Smoot would repeatedly downplay the raucousness of the party, although it’s worth noting that for an NFL player, that could be a matter of relativity, because it obviously stuck out as a wild affair for the source who leaked the report to the media.
“It was a party,” Smoot said. “It was like going to any other Gentlemen’s club in the city.”
“How did the story come out though that things were going crazy on the boat,” Shafer asked.
“Well nothing went crazy,” Smoot said. “That’s the whole thing about it. There’s nobody else on the boat but us and the captain.”
“They had to have a crew,” Shafer said.
“No, and I can say the four servers that they had to serving food and serving drinks,” Smoot clarified.
“That’s called a crew, but alright,” Shafer sniped.
“One of the crew told her boyfriend, he didn’t like it,” Smoot said. “And that’s how it got out, because he told her mom.”
“Because she saw something,” Shafer asked.
“She didn’t see anything,” Smoot said. “She just went home and bragged about ‘I was just on a boat full of Vikings players and women.’”
“And things got crazy,” Shafer suggested.
“No, they had a fun time,” Smoot said.
“It’s just friends chilling amongst friends enjoying themselves, that’s all it was man, like I tell people,” Smoot went on to say.
“So it was really overblown,” Shafer asked.
“It was overblown and overrated,” Smoot said. “I’ve been to more funner places in Miami, California. I’ve been to places that really have fun. South America.”
“So it was probably a Minnesota thing,” Shafer asked.
“It was in Minnesota,” Smoot said. “You know, cities like New York, D.C., Miami, Atlanta, this type of stuff happens every day.”
Smoot would go on to explain how the team didn’t learn of their legal troubles until the following week when they pulled into the team facility’s parking lot, by way of a street lined with television trucks.
Listen to Smoot’s hilarious airing of dirty laundry below.