Concussion Inc. Introduces ‘The Ted Agu Papers’ — Secret History of the 2014 Death of University of California-Berkeley Football Player

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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,”


Complete headline links to our series:


by Irvin Muchnick


Concussion Inc. has acquired thousands of pages of documents on the back story of the death of Cal football player Ted Agu during a February 7, 2014, conditioning drill. We are in the process of acquiring even more, and we will be announcing how the “Agu Papers” will be published in their entirety.

In the meantime, we will begin rolling out a series of articles based on review of the documents.

Some of the acquired documents come from requests to public agencies under the California Public Records Act. The bulk of our material, however, is a collection of depositions from the recently settled wrongful death lawsuit, Agu v. The Regents of the University of California, in which the state university system is paying $4.75 million to the Agu family for its liability in Ted’s death.

The depositions, which came to us via an anonymous source, are not court records — they were not filed in connection with any motion or action in the case. But their circulation is legal. In our view, their full publication is educational, in addition to appropriate.

The first story in our series — scheduled to be posted tomorrow — will include deposition excerpts establishing that the coverage of the San Francisco Chronicle, in association with the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, self-censored a critically important item in the background of Agu’s death. That was a specific earlier incident in the Cal football strength and conditioning program, three months earlier, which called into serious question the pattern of conduct of strength coach Damon Harrington.

Ted Agu’s is a black life that matters. Several times a decade, an unpaid student-athlete drops dead during an extracurricular and extreme conditioning drill in a college football program. These drills are designed only for punishment or, more charitably, for “toughening up” by the peculiar ideology of coaches who are paid millions of dollars a year. The decedents in these cases are disproportionately African-American. That is why we have launched the Ted Agu Papers.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick