“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,” https://concussioninc.net/?p=10931
Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series: https://concussioninc.net/?p=10877
Installments to date in THE TED AGU PAPERS:
by Irvin Muchnick
Sooner or later, the leaders of the University of California and its flagship Berkeley campus will have to speak up about how the world’s most prestigious public university is being represented by Damon Harrington, the abusive, foul-mouthed football strength coach who has the blood of Ted Agu’s death on his hands; and by Harrington’s boss and chief sponsor, head coach Sonny Dykes.
That day, however, does not seem yet to have arrived.
In the first revelation from the “Agu Papers,” Concussion Inc. reported that the oldest player on the football team in 2013-14 was alarmed by Harrington’s extreme methods, as well as by the coach’s verbal abuse, which included vulgar homophobic “motivation” that is disgusting in any era, but doubly disgusting in our post-Stone Age times.
Additionally, via a faculty investigator we learned that there are serious questions regarding whether Harrington and head coach Sonny Dykes conspired to dress redshirt player J.D. Hinnant for the November 2, 2013, Arizona game, as a reward for Hinnant’s having beaten the brain of teammate Fabiano Hale — an incident incited by Harrington and seemingly straight out of Rob Reiner’s 1992 film A Few Good Men.
I sought comment from Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. I wondered, even if he didn’t have anything to say about Harrington’s post-$4.75 million Agu family lawsuit settlement status, whether the esteemed chief executive of this institution might want to disagree with taunts of student-athletes including such poetry as “Stanford has its cock in your ass.”
The chancellor’s spokesman, Dan Mogulof, emailed back, “These are questions for Wes Mallette, who works in Intercollegiate Athletics.”
I told Mogulof that I considered this a curiously discretionary response, given that the administrative lines were recently redrawn so that the athletic department reports to the chancellor. I further noted that Cal basketball head coach Lou Campanelli was fired for verbal abuse in the middle of a season — in 1993.
I also made a discretionary call of my own not to hold my breath for a response from the Dykes-Harrington gang. Instead, I put the same questions to Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California’s 10-campus system.
By way of background, there is a unique historical dynamic between the president and the Berkeley chancellor. This is something I know generally as a 30-year California resident, and specifically as the author of a magazine profile of the late chancellor Chang-Lin Tien.
State higher education observers say Napolitano’s public criticisms of Dirks have been as unprecedented as they are pointed. The prime example is Napolitano’s directive to send Berkeley back to the drawing board with a study of campus-wide sexual harassment; the president bluntly said the first version was a swing and a miss.
(As many Concussion Inc. readers know, Cal assistant basketball coach Yann Hufnagel just left the university after findings that he sexually harassed a female journalist. And head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin could be on his way out, too, in an ongoing investigation of whether he covered up or didn’t properly report this allegation. The departure of Chancellor Dirks’ second in command, provost Claude Steele, while covered in a story about Steele’s desire to take care of his ill wife, is believed to be a strategic bureaucratic throwing under the bus.)
Napolitano didn’t respond, either.
Concussion Inc. has California Public Record Act requests in with both Cal and the Alameda County sheriff’s office and the district attorney.
The Berkeley chancellor’s PRA office has acknowledged possession of internal documents exploring the Hinnant-Hale incident and reviewing Harrington’s strength and conditioning program, and promising to comply with the request. The estimated timeline is eight weeks.
The sheriff and the district attorney have yet to confirm their possession of a March 2014 report, a month after Agu’s death, with a statement by a football player complaining about Harrington’s methods and detailing the coach’s role in inciting Hinnant to assault Hale.
Concussion Inc. is preparing, for publication as an ebook in the near future, the complete “Ted Agu Papers,” from which all sales proceeds will be donated to sickle cell research. In the meantime, we will continue to roll out findings from the documents.