Everson Griffen calls off Super Bowl party in Vegas, blames NFL
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Did the NFL stop Everson Griffen from taking the party to Vegas?
That's what the Minnesota Vikings' troubled defensive end said in a Facebook message to prospective partygoers on Friday afternoon, around the same time NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told 1500ESPN.com the league is looking into Griffen's two recent arrests in Los Angeles.
Griffen's message was titled "this event is cancled (sic) sorry for the confusion and mass text" and explained that "the NFL has made the decision this event has got to (sic) much media coverage and we are not allowed to bus people to Vegas .."
It seems far-fetched the league would actually bar Griffen from organizing the party -- a supposedly all-inclusive trip for $100 that drew attention on Friday when his alma mater, the University of Southern California, barred its football players from attending.
Instead, it is believed Vikings officials stepped in and told Griffen to put a stop to a series of events that seemed to be getting more out of hand and bizarre by the day.
Griffen was arrested early last Saturday for suspicion of public intoxication and again on Monday for felony battery after allegedly fleeing and then attacking police who had stopped him for traffic violations. He was released early Tuesday after posting $50,000 bail, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office determined there was insufficient evidence to charge him with a felony.
The 23-year-old still faces potential misdemeanor charges from the Monday incident and possible discipline from the NFL, which can punish players under the personal-conduct policy even without a criminal conviction. But Griffen mocked the situation in his posting about the party, introducing himself as "your guy that went to jail twices (sic) in 72 hours."
Reached by e-mail about Griffen's claim that the league stopped the party, Aiello declined to comment.
It was unclear whether Griffen still intended to take the trip himself or with a smaller group of friends.
The Vikings remain high on Griffen's talent and entered the offseason expecting him to take on a larger role in 2011, with left end Ray Edwards likely departing in free agency and top backup Brian Robison also unsigned.
But character concerns are nothing new with Griffen, a projected first-round pick last April who fell to the fourth and was off at least one NFL team's draft board altogether. The Vikings did extra work on Griffen's background before drafting him 100th overall, sending three scouts on campus visits and setting up one-on-one conversations with vice president of football operations Rick Spielman and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar.
Signed to a four-year contract that included a $540,000 signing bonus, $75,000 of which was deferred until March 15 of this year, Griffen was inactive for the first five games of his rookie season before carving out a role on special teams. The 6-foot-3, 273-pound pass rusher finished with eight tackles (six solo) on coverage units, plus another seven tackles (five solo) and four quarterback pressures in 64 snaps on defense.