Bernard Berrian plans to apologize, explains his Twitter comments
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A day after using Twitter as his primary means of communication, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian ended up having to explain himself the old fashioned way.
With the spoken word.
Berrian confirmed that he had left a voicemail for Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, to apologize for telling Kriesel to "sit down n shut up" in a Twitter exchange Sunday after the Vikings' 22-17 loss at Kansas City.
Berrian also addressed what he meant when he tweeted "been like that the last 4 yrs," after a fan defended him by writing that he saw the wide receiver "wide open at least 5 times" on Sunday.
"I'm not saying anything about (being ignored by quarterbacks), but I made a comment about being open. I've been open for the last four years," Berrian said Monday afternoon to a group of reporters gathered around his locker. "Nothing to deny that. I said (to Kriesel) we can go watch the film if you want to watch the film with me. That's the proof right there."
Berrian confirmed he had no idea that Kriesel is the co-author of the Vikings stadium bill or that Kriesel is a war veteran who lost his legs while serving in Iraq.
"That has nothing to do with it," Berrian said when asked about the fact the exchange was with the stadium author and a wounded veteran. "It's two grown people. He's a grown man, I'm a grown man. He didn't state, 'I'm a big Vikings fan,' and then come and say what he said."
Berrian balked when one reporter called it a Twitter war.
"I wouldn't really say it was a war, nobody got shot," he said. "Just a couple of friendly words going back and forth between two people."
The exchange can be found at Berrian's verified Twitter account (@B_Twice).
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier clearly was not pleased.
"I have talked to Bernard and we do ... matter of fact Bob (Hagan, the Vikings director of public relations) and some of our PR people actually talk with our team once we come to training camp," Frazier said. "Just about social media and what our relationship should be with social media.
"It's something we've talked about, something we'll continue to deal with and talk about. Bernard kind of knows where we stand on that issue and we'll move on from there. ... We want to make sure that our focus is on football and trying to win football games. I think going forward he'll handle things the right way."
Berrian, who said that Frazier told him to ignore negative comments on Twitter, refused to say what he plans to tell Kriesel but said his intention is to apologize. He did not leave an apology on Kriesel's voicemail because, "that's not to be done over a voicemail or a message."
It was the second time in as many seasons that Berrian has gotten into it with fans on Twitter. Sunday's exchange came after he caught one pass and was targeted six times by Donovan McNabb. Berrian has only two receptions this season for the 0-4 Vikings.
The story coming into this season was that Brett Favre did not like to throw the ball to Berrian. Clearly, though, that is no longer an issue and considering Berrian caught 48 and 55 passes in 2008 and 2009, respectively, it seemed a bit odd that he's now saying he hasn't been getting the ball when he's been open since his arrival in Minnesota.
Berrian's reception total did drop to 28 last season and he did not catch a touchdown pass for the first time since 2005 when he was with the Chicago Bears. Berrian signed a $42 million, six-year contract as a free agent with the Vikings in 2008 that included a $16 million signing bonus and $23 million in the first three years.
"He knows that we're trying to get the ball to him," Frazier said. "We tried a number of times (Sunday), We connected I think once, and it was a big play for us. Fourth-and-14 and we needed that play. It led to a touchdown, put us in a position to win the game.
"So we're going to continue to try to get him the football, we missed him a few times yesterday but we're not going to give up on trying to make that connection. We think he has a lot of value to our offense and he's a big play guy and we've got to continue to try."
Asked why he thought he wasn't getting the ball more, Berrian said: "It's a matter of everything. A lot of times there's penalties, make a catch there's a penalty. Sometimes there's a false start where a play is called for you, sometimes it's just everything. Sometimes the line protection and sometimes I'm not open."
It was after Berrian tweeted about his issues with not being thrown the ball that Kriesel got involved. "If you want to follow a hiliarous twitter account, try @B_Twice who says that he's open a lot and should get the ball more," Kriesel wrote Sunday.
Berrian didn't take long to respond. "Anytime u wanna watch the film with me. Not just one game but all of them. ... and if not sit down n shut up!!"
He was quickly called on the fact that Kriesel lost his legs while serving his country.
Berrian did not back off. "Shouldn't have opened his mouth," Berrian responded on Twitter. "Especially bout something he knows nothing about. How classy is that of him?? ... and for future reference both my parents and my older bro served in the military."
Berrian said Monday, "that's on him," when asked if he was going to sit down and watch film with Kriesel. "If he can get down here and watch it, I'll be glad to definitely watch it and point it out," Berrian said.
Berrian also attempted to defend himself on Twitter last season after the Vikings lost in Chicago.
Berrian was active for the November game at Solider Field because he had told then coach Brad Childress he could play. But Berrian decided at the last minute he could not go because of a hamstring issue that had been bothering him.
Fans lashed out at Berrian on Twitter and he responded.
Berrian took a pay cut from $3.9 million to $1.9 million to remain with the Vikings this season and his multi-year contract was shortened to a one-year deal.
"Every now and then you do get a lot of back and forth," Berrian said of taking flak on Twitter. "Most of the time I ignore a lot of it. That one kind of touched me, I didn't like the way what was said so that's why I (responded)."
So is he more likely to ignore it from now on? "I ignore it for pretty much the most part," he said. "It's been happening for a couple of years now."