Matt Kalil apologizes for knocking Vikings fan’s hat off during parking lot exchange (vid)
An ugly day on the field for embattled Minnesota Vikings right tackle Matt Kalil got even uglier following the game when he was recorded knocking off a disgruntled fan’s hat during a brief confrontation after a 24-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Kalil, who has struggled mightily this season for a player selected with the fourth-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, had an especially awful day against the Packers, was flagged for two holding penalties in the loss to go along with 15-yard facemask.
Kalil avoided the media in the locker room after the game, holding a phone to his ear and saying, “Sorry, I’m on the phone,’’ before sidestepping reporters on his way out.
It that was not bad enough, video footage surfaced of Kalil getting into it with a fan as he left the stadium.
The Vikings fan was identified as Rhett Wade, 25, who recounted his confrontation with Kalil on Twitter, as reported by Deadspin.
“… we just watched Matt Kalil cost us the game, so when he came out I really didn’t want to see him, so I said to him … ‘where do you want to be traded?’ .. and he was on his phone, and when it finally registered with him what I said he turned and then he told me to ‘get the f— outta here’ and then i said ‘I’d rather have your brother than you on my team’ and then he walked away like he didn’t hear what I said, but then he turned back around and asked me what I said again and then I repeated what I said again and then he proceeded to grab my hat off my head and throw it on the ground and mumble some stuff I didn’t hear, i then threw my program in his face. Then the police escorted me to my tailgate site and then I was chillin.”
Kalil apologized for both his treatment of the media and Wade on Monday, saying that he is able to “usually shrug that stuff off,” referencing the interaction with the fan.
“Fans like to talk and say some things. But it’s just something I could’ve been the bigger man and walked away,” Kalil said, via the Star Tribune.” But it wasn’t really that big of a deal.”
“It was one of those things when I walked away it was, ‘What am I doing?'” Kalil continued. “That guy’s not really worth my time. But whatever happened happened so I’ll obviously learn from that and won’t let him get the best of me. He just caught me at the right moment. Like I said, usually in one ear and out there other.”
Kalil then apologized to reporters for ducking out without speaking with them.
“The whole incident yesterday with the media thing and the fan, obviously a lot of frustration losing a game like that and losing [right tackle] Phil [Loadholt] in the game to injury and stuff like that,” Kalil said, via a Star Tribune report. “Obviously I was a little upset. But hopefully you guys didn’t take anything personally. It was just one of those days, so I apologize for that.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer echoed Kalil’s sentiments, saying the player should know better.
He was wrong in what he did,” Zimmer said. “We appreciate 99.9 percent of the fans, they’re great for us and he should have conducted himself in a better manner. It’s a good lesson for all of us. I know in the past there have been times I’ve been upset with people, too, but they pay money to go watch us play and watch us perform so they have a right to express their opinion. We just have to keep our composure and not let things get out of hand.”
Things are going from bad to worse for Kalil. The supposedly “can’t miss” pick who was presumed capable of holding down the right tackle position for a decade or better is becoming a liability for the Vikings, both on the field, and in light of Sunday’s incident, arguably off of it as well.