State Rep. John Kriesel

Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune

Berrian, politician trade tweet taunts

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD
  • Star Tribune
  • October 4, 2011 - 6:34 AM

Is it a good idea for a member of the Vikings to engage in a Twitter tête-à-tête with a Minnesota legislator trying to get the Vikings a new stadium?

Apparently not, given that receiver Bernard Berrian called State Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, on Monday morning, intending to apologize.

The hubbub started after the Vikings fell to 0-4 with a loss at Kansas City on Sunday. Berrian responded to a supportive tweet from a fan, who suggested the receiver was open "at least five times." Berrian, who caught one pass Sunday and has two receptions this season, responded, "been like that the last 4 years."

At that point Kriesel tweeted, "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."

The tweet feud was on.

Kriesel (@johnkriesel) admitted starting this whole thing. But Berrian tweeted, "Anytime u wanna watch the film with me. Not just one game but all of them. ... and if not sit down n shut up!!"

Kriesel responded that Berrian shouldn't be mad at him, he should "Make a play."

Berrian didn't know Kriesel is a state representative and a war veteran who lost his legs while serving in Iraq. Or that Kriesel is co-author of the bill to put a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills.

When others tweeted that background to Berrian, he didn't back off, tweeting that his older brother and both parents served in the military.

By Monday things had calmed down, although TV reporters flocked to Winter Park.

When asked about the Twitter "war," Berrian said, "I wouldn't say it was a war. Nobody got shot. Just a couple friendly words going back and forth between two people."

Kriesel, who said he was not offended, agreed.

"I'm a big boy," he said. "I can handle myself. I ripped him, he ripped me back. I have fun with Twitter. I'm over it. I was never offended by it."

The two traded phone messages Monday.

Berrian said he was just responding to criticism.

"He's a grown man," he said. "He just went off and attacked."

Berrian said over the past two years, he has ignored most of what he has seen about him on the social media site, but "that one kind of touched me. I didn't like the way, what was said. That's why I refuted [it]."

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said team officials talk with players about the use of social media; one of the first things Berrian did upon reaching Winter Park on Monday was head up to Frazier's office for a chat.

"Bernard kind of knows where we stand on that issue," Frazier said.

Kriesel, meanwhile, said, "I'm shocked this is one of the bigger stories of the day. But that might be life in Minnesota with the Vikings."

So, will the Vikings 0-4 start, coupled (perhaps) with this Twitter tumult, put a dent in the Vikings' ability to get that much-sought-after stadium?

"I would hope not," Frazier said. "... We're doing all we can to get our season turned around. Whether we're 15 and whatever or 0-4 at this point, hopefully it doesn't interfere with the fact that we need a new stadium."

Kriesel agreed.

"I don't think it should have an effect," he said. "I don't think it does. ... Sports goes in cycles. You have bad years and great years. That's how sports works."

One other thing: Kriesel said he might like to take Berrian up on his offer.

"He offered, on Twitter, to watch film with me. Maybe I'll go watch some film with him."

Said Berrian: "If he can get down here and watch it, I'll be glad to definitely watch it. Put it that way."

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