The Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer who scored an interview with Visanthe Shiancoe on Monday was pretty much just covering her beat, as it turns out. Meet C.J., gossip columnist and unofficial nudity reporter, who happened to see Shiancoe exit a limousine at Trocaderos Restaurant, and got the first — and thus far only — interview with the Vikings' player concerning his Fox TV exposure. Just another day at the office for C.J., who says that it's not the first Vikings um, member, that she has encountered.
"A couple of years ago, a Vikings knucklehead whose name I will not mention took great delight in following me around the locker room naked," said C.J., who talked with me by phone on Monday. "He would go out of his way, it seemed, to strip right in front of me. He did that repeatedly. There's something about football players; they don't mind being naked in front of people. I've seen so much of it that it's become very clinical. It's nothing I get excited about when I see it in that setting."
C.J. — that's her handle, she never uses her real name — had "just looked at an unedited version of the YouTube video" before heading out to Trocaderos to cover Darren Sharper's birthday celebration.
"That's when I happened to see Shianco piling out of a limousine," she said. "I opened by telling him that Fox had apologized for putting him on the air like that. He hadn't known that. Then he said 'At least I hadn't just got out the pool.' It was fun, because usually when I'm out at parties like that I'm reporting on athletes getting into trouble."
Although C.J. isn't technically a sports writer, she loves football and covers the Vikings every chance she gets.
"They're a good source of material," she said. "Like one time I interviewed a woman who took tickets at the Timberwolves games. It was at a playoff game a few years ago, and she said Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss came in and were very rude to her. She didn't recognize them, and they were demanding their tickets and being rude.
"So I went to Winter Park to get their side of it, and I couldn't find Culpepper anywhere. But I talked to Moss and he gave me one of the best quotes ever. He started gesticulating wildly, and finally said "Pep do what he do and I do what I do."
C.J. said that the Shiancoe column was one of the most popular she has ever written. "Some people did not appreciate it," she said. "Some were appalled that I would write about such a subject and said they'd never read my column again. But most were having fun with it. One guy, Jeff, wrote, "I don't see enough of that kind of stuff around my house these days, so I'm glad you wrote about it."
Then fun never seems to stop for a Minneapolis-based gossip columnist. She was there for the Vikings sex boat story, the Sen. Larry Craig gay restroom sex scandal, and has covered Dwight Smith's love of stairwells. And writing about Al Franken's senate race against Norm Coleman, which is in a recount and still hasn't been decided, has also been fun.
"At least I've never seen [Franken] naked, thank God."
And she had a message for Deadspin.
"I loved the way you guys used the Vikings logo in your post. It was just enough in just the right places to cover what had to be covered. That was great."
C.J.: Overexposed Viking Asks: How'd It Look? [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]