Ah, yes. Twitter controversies.
Let’s be honest. They’re always a little entertaining, a bit awkward and mostly nonsensical. And today’s case of Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian vs. state representative John Kriesel fits all the above criteria.
It started Sunday night when, through the Tweetosphere, Kriesel openly mocked Berrian’s self-evaluation that his lack of production the past four seasons hasn’t been the result of getting open. Tweeted Kriesel: “If you want to follow a hilarious twitter account, try @B_Twice who says that he’s open a lot and should get the ball more.”
When Berrian snapped back, thinking that Kriesel was just another negative fan and not realizing he was a state legislator with his hands in the Vikings’ efforts to get a new stadium, the media machine of 2011 had all the requisite pieces to assemble a fun-to-talk-about (if certainly overblown) controversy.
This afternoon, in a phone call with the Star Tribune, Kriesel didn’t seem offended by the edgy back-and-forth with Berrian and expressed amazement at how big of a deal the story had quickly become. Later, Berrian met with reporters in the Vikings locker room. And while amused by the hullabaloo, he also grew quite testy at times when discussing the Twitter war.
“I wouldn’t really say it was a war,” Berrian said. “Nobody got shot. Just some friendly words going back and forth between two people.”
Among the highlights of Berrian’s Monday afternoon address:
- Kriesel’s assertion that he started the whole thing? Berrian agreed. “I rebutted. I can’t start [something] with a rebuttal. But I mean, there’s no blame to go around. It’s just words going back and forth between two people.”
- Berrian’s assertion that he’s been open a lot throughout the past four years? He’s sticking to that. “I’m not saying anything about [quarterbacks] ignoring [me]. I made a comment about being open. Yeah, I’ve been open for the last four years. There’s nothing to deny that. I’ve said we can go watch the film if you want to watch the film with me. That’s the proof right there.”
- Kriesel has said that he wants to take advantage of the offer to watch the film with Berrian. When told of that, Berrian’s eyes grew big. “I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “If he can get down here and watch it, I’ll be glad to definitely watch it. Put it that way.”
- Berrian did say he had a discussion with head coach Leslie Frazier about learning to ignore criticism on the internet. But the Vikings wide receiver wouldn’t go so far as to stamp his behavior with a “regret” label.
- “Regret's a funny word. I don’t regret anything that I've done in my life, really,” Berrian said. “I've made a decision and if some things that have happened are wrong, they're wrong. But I don't really try to regret anything.”