Stadium Backers Don’t Believe Everything They Read

Don’t believe everything you read, especially in sports blogs and columns about government issues.

That is what some Minnesota politicians say after dealing with Vikings stadium issues for months, or years.

For instance, in a week dominated by stadium news (a frenzy in some minds), Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, was none too happy with a Star Tribune sports column critical of him for opposing a stadium. Just one problem: In his only chance to vote on a stadium bill, Urdahl favored it.

Urdahl asked one of the first questions at a stadium committee hearing, saying that he heard many Minnesotans wonder why the state needed to help finance a stadium to benefit a billionaire team owner. He never said that was his opinion, and talked in favor of a stadium during the meeting.

Jim Souhan wrote a blistering anti-Urdahl column, including: “Those like Urdahl who shamelessly pander to the simple-minded people should not be taken seriously. Next time you ask a question about the stadium, Mr. Urdahl, please get help from someone with a better grasp of stadium politics, like, oh, a Kardashian.”

Urdahl said he received a call from the top Star Tribune editor apologizing for the column.

Some media also attributed Urdahl’s question to Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, the chief House author of the stadium bill. Lanning shook his head when he related the mistake, which indicated he opposed a stadium even though he has worked for years to build one.

There have been other examples of not understanding Capitol politics.

Back when Minneapolis, state leaders and the Vikings announced a stadium plan, at least one sports blog reported the Legislature would vote on the issue that day. The problem? There had not even been a bill written.