While Cal Faculty Petition to Sack Football Strength Coach Damon Harrington, Larger Corruption Story Is in Still-Withheld Public Documents

What Is the Basis For UC Berkeley Assertion That Football Coach Sonny Dykes’ Assistant Damon Harrington Did ‘Nothing Wrong’ in 2013 Player-on-Player Assault?
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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,” https://concussioninc.net/?p=10931


Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series:



Installments to date in THE TED AGU PAPERS:











by Irvin Muchnick


Though the San Francisco Chronicle’s incompetence and self-censorship on the Damon Harrington story rankle, there is no doubt that the newspaper is belatedly adding value to what should become a broader reconsideration of how big-time football is skewing the University of California’s mission and soiling its international reputation.

Today’s Chronicle coverage is of the Berkeley faculty association’s response to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ response to the faculty’s call for non-renewal of the contract of football coach Sonny Dykes’ strength and conditioning assistant, pending findings of the chancellor’s newly announced intention to conduct Sober and Professional Independent Internal Review 2.0 of how nothing happened to Harrington following the death of Ted Agu — which in turn followed the coach-inspired beatdown of a second player by a third.

The link is http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Faculty-petition-Cal-Suspend-contract-8342125.php. The Chronicle, while hyping its own Mr. Magoo-like investigation, which brought us to this pass, wouldn’t reciprocate the gesture in a million years. Its readers might learn something new.

Meanwhile, I continue the hunt for the suppressed report of a statement to campus police in March 2014 — one month after Agu’s death, three months after J.D. Hinnant assaulted Fabiano Hale and sent him to the hospital with a concussion — by former player Joey Mahalic. The Chronicle says it has the document but won’t publish it.

Yesterday the spokesperson for the Alameda County district attorney, Nancy O’Malley, seemed to acknowledge that her office just requested the document, which was withheld from prosecutors by the UC Police Department at the time.

Teresa Drenick, speaking for O’Malley, said: “We have reviewed (and re-read) all of the police reports pertaining to this incident, including some reports that were not originally made available to us (Some supplemental reports re. witness interviews as to the assault allegation. We also reviewed the reports  on the death of Agu). Based upon all the material before us, we do not find any new evidence or information that causes us to change the charging decision that we made previously regarding the assault allegations.”

Drenick did not explain the process by which the county district attorney prevailed upon the police to finally forward the Mahalic statement, or the reasoning behind not having received it previously. “I do not know why those statements were not provided to us originally, so cannot comment further on the reasoning,” she said. “It is not the policy of the DA’s Office to release police reports generated by other agencies to the public.”

As the latest faculty letter to Dirks pointed out, there is a distinction between the standards for criminal prosecution — a high bar, and rightfully so — and the chancellor’s ridiculous assertion that legal authorities found Harrington did “nothing wrong.”

And while I look for new approaches to publishing the information the Chronicle is choosing to keep hidden, this point leads to the next set of so-far-secret documents in the Harrington scandals: internal emails and instructions before and after the laughable review of the coach’s program by Cal athletics cronies Dr. Jeffrey Tanji and John Murray.

Months ago, Concussion Inc. submitted requests for all these documents with the California Public Records Act coordinators for both UC Berkeley and UC Davis. Last week, Berkeley campus media spokesperson Dan Mogulof started sending out to reporters, including myself, the June 2014 Tanji report. Mogulof also told me that the Mahalic police statement had been ruled exempt from disclosure (the public records office coordinator never told me so directly and I do not believe Mogulof has the authority to make such a ruling).

I am pressing Charles F. Robinson, the general counsel at the University of California Office of the President in Oakland, to compel both Berkeley and Davis to comply with all my requests. They both say they’re working on them. Previously, Davis (where Tanji is co-director of the sports medicine program) had estimated that review of the documents and a decision on them would be completed around July 12.

Stay tuned. But also, don’t be surprised if one or more of these still-missing documents find their way first into the hands of the more easily manipulated San Francisco Chronicle.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick