The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
Matt Millen Fined $200,000 For Not Renting "Friday"
Originally posted 8/4/2003

Matt Millen, left, and "Friday"
DETROIT - Detroit Lions president Matt Millen was hit with his second fine in as many weeks this Tuesday night. The NFL fined him $200,000 for not renting "Friday," the 1995 Ice Cube-Chris Tucker comedy about two young men's adventures in South Central Los Angeles. Millen was also fined $200,000 last week for not interviewing any minority candidates before hiring former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci to fill the Lions' head coaching vacancy in January.

"I understand the league's commitment to diversity," Millen said at a press conference this weekend, "and I support it wholeheartedly. But it seems to me that with this latest fine, the NFL has gone too far."

Sources close to the Lions say that Millen went to a Pontiac, Michigan Blockbuster Video store Tuesday night fully intending to rent "Midnight Run," the 1988 Robert De Niro-Charles Grodin comedy, and considered no other movies.

"I'll be honest with you," Millen said. "The minute my wife suggested I go out and get a movie, I called the store to see if they had 'Midnight Run.' When they said it was in, I knew I had to act fast. I'm sure 'Friday' is a great movie, and will make a great rental for someone else very soon, but I specifically wanted 'Midnight Run.' I don't see what's so wrong with that."

"With such a wide selection available to him," said NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, "Mr. Millen could have at least browsed some other sections. Maybe he wouldn't have rented such movies as 'Friday,' 'Above the Rim,' 'Deliver Us From Eva' or 'Fear of a Black Hat,' but he could have at least read the back of the boxes to see if there was something there that he might have been interested in."

Millen said that he plans to appeal the fine, and added that "Midnight Run" is "awesome."

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