Vikings coach Mike Zimmer lied about Terence Newman playing safety last week. He apologized in public on Monday. The former is not unusual. The latter is highly unusual.

Here's a partial list of important local sports figures I covered who, I believe, never lied to me, or who I am confident have not lied to local media members, and who could have lied and gotten away with it. Some of the names might surprise you.

Tom Kelly

Ron Gardenhire

Glen Taylor

Mike Lynn

Andy MacPhail

Kent Hrbek

Rich Gannon

Jerry Burns

Jacques Lemaire

Craig Leipold

Corey Koskie

The list of people who have lied to me is much longer. That's part of the game, if a sports figure chooses to play it that way.

A lot of sports figures lie to protect themselves or a secret. Happens in all walks of life. What's more interesting is the way some public figures will insist on either telling the truth or simply saying nothing.

When I covered the Twins in the '90s, MacPhail and Kelly had a line they'd give me when I asked a pointed question and they didn't want to divulge information, or lie. They'd say, ``I can't answer that.'' Meaning they either weren't allowed to answer it, or couldn't answer it without giving up private information, or couldn't answer without telling a lie.

Shading the truth is part of the game. Protecting secrets is an important part of the game. I was always impressed by those who, when they couldn't tell the truth, said nothing at all.

Zimmer has generally been a straight shooter. While him telling a lie isn't shocking or even that important, I think he'd do best by himself and the organization if he'd develop a go-to line that keeps him from divulging information or lying. Like: ``I can't answer that.'' His reputation is too good for him to ruin it when he could simply alter his answers.


New at Longtime Chicago football writer Dan Pompei (of Bleacher Report and was my guest to discuss the Bears, Vikings and his recent talk with Bill Belichick about Malcolm Butler:

Also at the site: Roy Smalley on baseball, Jon Krawczysnki on the Wolves, Tim Yotter on the Vikings and Michael Russo on hockey.