Darren Sharper's body may have been sore but the Vikings' safety was obviously physically fit when he parked his luxury SUV in a handicapped spot at the FOX 9 studios Sunday in Eden Prairie.
Sharper was at the station to make his regular "FOX 9 Sports Primetime" appearance after the Vikings' 24-17 loss to the Falcons. I was there looking for Sharper -- who had not returned my calls to the cell phone number he had given me -- to get video for a bit of mischief that you can read about in Thursday's column.
Before I noticed where the SUV was parked, Sharper made a joke to my video camera about having to "get my flexibility back" and said, "See how I'm walking?"
I was not in a position to wait around until after Sharper finished shooting the sports program to ask him why he chose to park in that spot. I did, however, shoot video of the vehicle and its vanity license plates, which have been confirmed through a check of public records as being Sharper's.
Sharper did not respond to calls I made to his cell phone on this matter (I suspect the bachelor gave me the number he gives to people whose phone calls he has no intention of returning). I also sent Sharper an e-mail at his website, sharper42.com, and I made a phone call and sent an e-mail to his PR guy.
Only Vikings PR guy Bob Hagan has returned my call.
Hagan groaned when informed of the handicapped parking matter: "Awww, are you going to go after him? Did he know it was that spot?" Video showing the proximity of Sharper's SUV to the handicapped parking sign will be posted at startribune.com/video later today. "All right," said Hagan. "Nothing I can do. But he's a very good guy. He does a lot of really good [charity] stuff. Obviously, if he did it, he did it. It was probably some misunderstanding."
With his winning smile, model good looks and comely Van Dyke facial hair, Sharper is an exceedingly appealing personality. It was obvious that Sharper was smarter than the average athlete (he did get a degree from William and Mary) when his was absent from the infamous Lake Minnetonka Love Boat. Still, that was his SUV in a handicapped spot.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.
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