UC-Berkeley’s $4.75 Million Wrongful Death Settlement With Ted Agu’s Family Is an Atrocious Deal For the People of California

Published April 14th, 2016, Uncategorized

“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=10931

Complete headline links to our series: http://concussioninc.net/?p=10877

 

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

The San Francisco Chronicle, unofficial stenographer for both sides, this morning broke the story of the University of California’s $4.75 million settlement of the lawsuit by football player Ted Agu’s family for his 2014 wrongful death.

Concussion Inc. is setting out to get copies of the full settlement agreement — and, more important, the transcripts of depositions from the case, which had been informally promised by sources close to it.

In the meantime, here’s what we can say: The deal stinks.

The “non-economic” provisions of the settlement turn out to be initiatives for further education on sickle cell trait, which Ted Agu had, and a promise by Cal football to eliminate the type of extreme punishment drill that killed him. Strength and conditioning coach Damon Harrington, who has shown more than once that he does not belong on the public payroll in our community, is untouched. So is head coach Sonny Dykes. Ultimate accountability here is zero.

In the 2008 University of Central Florida case of Ereck Plancher, sickle cell trait also was a factor. Additionally, athletic trainer Robert Jackson was a responsible player both at UCF and at Berkeley. A Florida jury awarded the Plancher family $10 million. In this new case, the acceptance of liability by the university, and avoiding a jury trial, cut that figure by more than half.

My guess is that the clients, Ted Agu’s survivors, remain true believers in the football system, in all its idiocy, and didn’t want a resolution that could be construed as anything less than “constructive.” Ted’s in memoriam photo remains on the Cal football website and on the bio page of serial maniac Harrington.

Shrewdly, the lawyers and spinmeisters of the University of California have saved the taxpayers more than $5 million out of what is essentially the taxicab account of the multibillion-dollar college football industry.

But by remaining in denial about necessary reforms, they have done all of the rest of us a profound, if predictable, disservice.