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Many things will never be clear about the interactions between Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and Gracelyn Trimble, a former girlfriend who got into an altercation with Cook last November. Here’s one thing that is clear. No amount of effort by Cook’s lawyer or agent to downplay or defuse the situation will make it all go away quickly and summarily.
Last night, agent Zac Hiller tried to get ahead of the situation by spoon-feeding a self-serving contention to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who tweeted this: “Minnesota Vikings’ RB Dalvin Cook is the victim of domestic abuse and extortion — there’s pending litigation, according to his agent Zac Hiller.”
It was vague and confusing and frankly bizarre. Minutes later, Hiller called me to elaborate. He went on the record, and he provided more details as to the contentions that Cook is making about an unlawful entry into his home, a subsequent physical struggle, and a contention that he’s now the victim of extortion.
In hindsight, it’s obvious that Hiller was trying to get ahead of the story, to paint a favorable picture as to Cook’s alleged innocence. And that’s fine for him to try. It’s also more than fine for us to now explain, after the fact, that this is exactly what he was doing.
The “pending litigation” isn’t something that was filed by Cook. It was filed by Trimble, against Cook. (Hiller insisted on Tuesday night that a lawsuit has not yet been filed.)
Both sides will have the right to make their contentions and allegations in court. Without a settlement, a jury eventually will have to figure it all out. The NFL could get involved, too, investigating the situation under the personal-conduct policy and, if a violation is found, imposing discipline.
Even with Schefter’s misleading tweet blasted to a massive audience that he actively uses to persuade people like Zac Hiller to go to Schefter first, that won’t be enough to get the league or the court system to look the other way. Cook has the right to make his allegations, and Trimble has the right to make hers. The facts ultimately will determine the outcome in court and, possibly, the outcome before the Commissioner.