“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:
Installments to date in THE TED AGU PAPERS:
by Irvin Muchnick
On Saturday, both Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and the University of California-Berkeley athletic department issued lengthy statements defending football coach Sonny Dykes’ assistant Damon Harrington — whose strength and conditioning program is now about to be subjected to Sober and Professional Independent Internal Review 2.0. Presumably this probe will examine anew the 2014 death of Ted Agu as well as, impliedly, the 2013 physical assault of another player, J.D. Hinnant, on teammate Fabiano Hale.
Harrington’s sloppy, Navy Seals-fantasy-infused punishment workout regime precipitated the death. And his directives, by word and gesture, inspired the attack, according to a March 2014 statement to campus police by player Joey Mahalic.
In an outrage of public policy opacity, the Mahalic statement was not forwarded to the Alameda County district attorney. The office of the district attorney, Nancy O’Malley, gives no indication that it will ask police for the statement in light of overdue intensive scrutiny of Harrington following the Agu family’s $4.75 million civil lawsuit settlement with the university.
The San Francisco Chronicle, which did the once-over-lightly thing with the Hinnant-Hale incident at the time, and more recently whiffed on sharing with readers the essence of the Mahalic statement and other Harrington horror stories in depositions the newspaper hyped in a lead front-page story in January, has quoted from the statement but not published it in full.
This reporter, who has an undefeated record in public information disputes in four states, and most recently against the Department of Homeland Security in federal court, is considering litigating in California state court for release of the Mahalic document.
The whole tableau becomes uglier still with Saturday’s excruciatingly parsed separate statements by Chancellor Dirks and the athletic department. Dirks wrote in part, in response to a California Faculty Association petition, “It is important for me to say that I have had no reason to believe there was any cover-up in relation to the football team’s strength and conditioning program, or its coach, during 2013-14.”
Not to predetermine the content of Sober and Professional Independent Review 2.0 or anything … but the chancellor also huffed: “Because some people asked whether Coach Harrington may have had some responsibility for the alleged assault, UCPD specifically investigated this question, and concluded at that time Harrington had done nothing wrong.”
(In their own statement Saturday to NBC Sports, the sports honchos of Haas Pavilion argued that Harrington’s program is not significantly different from other major college football teams’. They are right about that.)
If the campus cops “specifically investigated this question,” then let’s see their work product. Does it consist simply of Mahalic’s statement, plus a handful of others — and who are they? — saying nah, everything’s cool, what Mahalic described never happened?
Dirks also said “the findings of the police investigation were then referred to the Alameda district attorney, who declined to file charges in the matter.” This is a weasled characterization of privileged justice. What the district attorney did was to “defer” charges — and those were against Hinnant, not Harrington. The prosecutor has conceded that the case technically remains open, not closed.
If the case is open, then D.A. Nancy O’Malley and her assistant, Paul Hora, need to say so emphatically and to assure the public that they are directing campus police to forward additional materials, which Agu case depositions revealed had been withheld from the county coroner and sheriff.
If the case is closed, then there is no reason, in light of current public controversies and questions surrounding the Dykes-Harrington regime — along with other evidence of such things as a horrible sexual harassment environment both in athletics and on the campus at large — for prosecutors not to educate all of us as to what their investigations found. At the moment, they offer nothing but zig-and-zag reinforcement of their own convenient and discredited conclusions.
Concussion Inc. is forwarding this article to O’Malley and Hora and their spokesperson, Teresa Drenick. I’ll let y’all know what they say.