Whitewash 2.0: Cal Rolls Out Fresh-Scrubbed ‘Independent Review’ of Football Conditioning Program Where Assault and Death Occurred

Published November 9th, 2016, Uncategorized

Concussion Inc.’s ebook THE TED AGU PAPERS: A Black Life That Mattered — And the Secret History of a Covered-Up Death in University of California Football is available on Kindle-friendly devices at http://amzn.to/2aA2LDl. One hundred percent of royalties are being donated to sickle cell trait research and education.

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

In a sickening variation on the Friday afternoon bad-news dump, the University of California-Berkeley chose election eve to whisper the launch of disgraced lame-duck Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ do-over review of the strength and conditioning program of football coach Sonny Dykes’ assistant Damon Harrington.

The chancellor had been promising the review for more than four months, ever since local news media belatedly raised questions about the renewal of Harrington’s contract and the blatantly conflicted and inept review of him conducted two years ago.

University flacks didn’t even bother to notify Concussion Inc. of the announcement posted at http://chancellor.berkeley.edu/announcement-cal-football-strength-and-conditioning-program-review.

The new review is being co-directed by Dr. Elizabeth Joy, a Utah physician who is president of the American College of Sports Medicine, and Wayne D. Brazil, a retired federal magistrate judge and former faculty member at the Berkeley law school.

The study will begin in January, during the upcoming football offseason. The announcement makes it clear that the November 2013 beating by player J.D. Hinnant of fellow student-athlete Fabiano Hale — an act arguably incited by Coach Harrington and his methods — will not be within the scope of the study. Nor will the February 2014 death — by punishment drill and by unattended and covered-up sickle cell trait exertional episode — of Ted Agu. As such, Review 2.0 gives every advance indication of being just as toothless as the original whitewash.

The San Francisco Chronicle quoted English professor Celeste Langon, co-chair of the UC Berkeley Faculty Association, a group critical of athletic department excesses, asking “Why has the scope of the [new] inquiry been limited to the question of adequate medical supervision of athletic training?” Langon added that the appropriate concern is “the broader question of ‘locker room culture’ — in particular, whether coaches are held to the standard of their employment contract, which requires them to act in a manner consistent with their role as ‘instructor of students.’” See http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Amid-concern-Cal-hires-new-team-to-probe-10599521.php.

Judge Brazil did not respond to my email and fax query sent to him through JAMS, the multinational mediation and arbitration service where he now works.

In an email exchange, Dr. Joy wrote to me, “We have not yet begun the review of the Cal Strength and Conditioning Program. At this stage, only developing the outline for the review, which will largely start after the first of the year aside from literature reviews. I know that the Cal Administration will make Judge Brazil and I available for public comment when the review is completed.”

After I replied that the focus of current public questions is less the upcoming work or findings than it is the diversionary scope and charge of her commission, Joy said, “I would refer you back to the press release.”

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Meanwhile, the campus California Public Records Act (PRA) compliance office has once again blown off its projected date for releasing internal documents pertaining to the Hinnant-Hale incident and the Agu death. This reporter’s PRA request in this area is at seven months and counting. On September 22, PRA coordinator Liane Ko had said “4-6 weeks.” In her newest meaningless estimate, she told me, “We are striving for the next three weeks.” She further noted, “[T]here is one staff person responsible for collecting, reviewing and preparing records for release.”

That’s right: The university dedicates one staffer to processing all requests for documents fulfilling its obligations toward institutional transparency and accountability. Also at taxpayer expense, the school employs multiple others whose job description consists of churning out press releases, such as the vacuous one noted above, and otherwise burnishing the image of Cal and its corrupt chief executive.

Having just won a major Freedom of Information Act case against the Department of Homeland Security for the immigration files of rapist former Irish Olympic swim coach George Gibney (see http://concussioninc.net/?p=11532, November 3, and more recent posts), our legal team has begun preparing state court action against the university under the California PRA should that become necessary.

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“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 Ted Agu series: http://concussioninc.net/?p=10877