This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," October 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: A 90-minute cruise may land the Minnesota Vikings (search) in hot water. About 20 members of the football team were on board when the cruise allegedly got out of control, reportedly turning into a wild sex party, with drugs, strippers and prostitution.
Joining us live at Winter Park, the Viking headquarters, is KMSP-TV reporter Tom Lyden. Well, Tom, what happened?
TOM LYDEN, KMSP-TV: Well, this all went down last Thursday, Greta. About 20 Viking members and 80 to 90 of their friends went out on these two party yachts, is the best way to describe them. They go out on Lake Minnetonka (search). But shortly after they left dock, the problems began — heavy drinking at first, but before long, according to the crew members through their lawyers, they tell us there were naked women walking around. Soon after that, there were actually sex acts going on — oral sex. Now, we don't know who exactly was receiving the oral sex, whether it was the Vikings or their friends, but that was going on. There was some alleged drug activity, as well. Left behind on the boats were used condoms.
As this was going on, there were two boats that went out there. The pilots were talking to one another. They said, This is out of control. The crew felt threatened. They felt intimidated. The players were demanding more alcohol. They turned the boats around, back to dock. The cruise ended right there.
Now, the Vikings had their first chance to kind of respond to these salacious allegations today. And coach Mike Tice (search) was downright apoplectic, didn't know what to say. He wouldn't discuss the details of it, wouldn't discuss the players that were involved, but he said this kind of allegation that could ruin a team or bring it together. He's going to try to bring it together.
You know, before this began on the yacht, there's a neighbor who lives right down the street and she said some of the players, about eight of them, urinated on her front yard. Listen to what she has to say, give you a flavor of what we're dealing with her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say there was probably, like, six of them in between that tree and this tree.
I mean, it was like they were doing this, I don't know, pee line dance or something, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LYDEN: And she is not a critic of the Vikings. In fact, that night, she was wearing a Vikings T-shirt. She says she bleeds purple, as a lot of people do around here. She actually followed those guys up the street and saw them getting on the yacht. Again, she doesn't know if they were Vikings or if they were friends of the Vikings.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tom, it's been a lousy season so far. They've lost three, won one. They've got a new owner. Now they've got this sex party. They want a new stadium. I concede I'm a Green Bay Packers (search) fan. But what are the fans saying, and what's the new owner saying?
LYDEN: The fans are disgusted. They say this is ridiculous. You know, they have an $800 million stadium package on the table. Taxpayers pick up a good chunk of that. People are telling us these players repeatedly show us that they're just children, and now they want a bigger sandbox and they want the public to pay for it. You know, this stadium issue here for the Vikings may be all but dead because of this issue, real big consequences. Ziggy Wolf, the new owner, he wasn't talking at all. He was actually in town for an owners' conference. He avoided the press, and he skipped back out east. He's not commenting on this yet.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we've had the basketball brawl. That was a bad stain on professional basketball. We've had baseball on steroids. What's the NFL saying, if anything, tonight about this?
LYDEN: You know, the NFL isn't commenting on this yet. They have a code of conduct that does not seem to really apply in this particular instance. And in fact, it's a little bit confusing — this may be poor, outlandish, bizarre behavior, on one hand. The question is whether it's criminal activity. Now, prosecutors are telling me that, based on what they know, what we're looking at is indecent exposure, maybe prostitution. All of those charges are misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors. So we're not talking about any jail time with any of this.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, they're tied with the Bears, who they're supposed to see this weekend, so that'll be an interesting game with all that's going on in their minds, with the Vikings. Tom, thank you.
Joining us live from Minneapolis is Stephen Doyle, the lawyer for the charter cruise company. Stephen, what are your clients saying happened?
STEPHEN DOYLE, ATTORNEY FOR CHARTER CRUISE COMPANY: Good evening to you both. Good evening, Greta. You know, this was a routine event for us. One of the Vikings was a guy named Smoot. And there were others that set this thing up. My clients had the impression that this was a routine evening, a kind of a traditional social evening out for veterans, funded by first-year players. It all unfolded as it should, two boats, 50 people on one boat, 40 on the other. Crews were excited because, you know, these were Viking players. It's a pretty exciting event to have.
It turned enormously sour and pretty crazy and wild. And I'm happy to give you the details. I'm not sure what your audience can deal with.
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of the women, I mean, and the sex acts, are these women they brought on board, or Were they imposing themselves on female crew members?
DOYLE: Well, let me first of all talk about most of the women on board. Of the 90 people, my crew, of my clients, tell me that more than half the people were men, but a large number were women. The perception was, for whatever reason, that these would be family, friends, girlfriends, wives, whatever, that showed up on board with the players and their friends.
You know, we think we've identified about 17 Vikings, but we know there were more than 20 on board. Some of the crew just simply aren't Viking fans or football fans, so they didn't know them. So the idea was this was a pretty routine event.
Yes, during the course of the cruise, which wasn't a very long event, individuals, Viking players and others, solicited women to dance, to offer them money, to try to control part of the bar, tried to control lighting systems, were upset because certain boozes ran out. It was a pretty aggressive evening for a very short cruise.
Remember, they were only out about 40 minutes when the crew reported to the captains, who verified what was occurring, who reported back to home base, and the boats were ordered returned. They kept a secret from the passengers that the cruises were returning. They were fearful for their own safety and didn't want to let them know they were going back home.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is safety an issue? I mean, there are 90 on the two boats, but we certainly saw what happened on Lake George recently. And I understand that 90 was within the capacity. But you know, these are big people, and if they're getting aggressive, was safety ever a real risk here?
DOYLE: Well, only after their behavior took place. Try to remember, we've got a crew here of four people per boat, which is routine for the size of these folks. These people have been in business for 50 years. This is one of the high-end folks that, you know, do charters and restaurants on one of the big lakes around the cities here, a lake that has more than 500 feet of — 500 miles of lake shore, if you take the whole lake shore. This is an astoundingly class operation, so there's nothing unusual about this, until the behavior started.
We have a crew that's just looking at behavior that's astounding, sexual acts that are occurring in front of everybody, just a level of activity between people and — and — people and toys that were extraordinary, just knocked the socks off of these folks. And they were stunned and shocked and dismayed and frightened and intimidated. You know, people were saying, you know, Let me tell you here, what are we going to say here? We want lights off. And the crew is saying, No, you can't have it. So that's part of the problem here.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I'm sure that everyone's be following this story, Stephen. Thank you.
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