Thank you to investigative journalist and college sports reform advocate Daniel Libit and his site The Intercollegiate (recently merged with Matt Brown’s Extra Points) for having me on their podcast to discuss my investigation of the Ted Agu death and my three and a half years of California Public Records Act litigation to secure the release of more than 700 pages of internal University of California-Berkeley documents in connection with the associated cover-up.
Agu perished during a brutal offseason conditioning drill in which he staggered repeatedly and was in such distress by the end that he had to be dragged across the finish line by teammates to whom he was attached by rope. Agu suffered a medical episode known as Exertional Collapse Associated With Sickle Cell Trait (ECAST). Afterward, the university and its football team physician at the time, Dr. Casey Batten (who would move on to the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League), concealed from the Alameda County medical examiner that Agu was a carrier of sickle cell trait.
During the prosecution of the Agu family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the UC Regents, which would settle in 2016, the coroner learned the full story and arranged for the autopsy — which originally listed the cause of death as “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” or heart failure — to be revised to reflect ECAST.
If you google “Ted Agu cause of death” today, however, the top-level result will still be “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.” This perhaps made UC’s expenditure of $4.75 million of public funds in the family lawsuit settlement a cost-effective investment in terms of public relations and image preservation. To date, no media outlet other than Concussion Inc. has delved into the cover-up and its implications.
Below is The Intercollegiate’s tweet about the new podcast, with links.
Thanks to Daniel Libit, also, for his supportive declaration in my Public Records Act case in Alameda County Superior Court. Last week Judge Jeffrey S. Brand tentatively ruled that we are “the prevailing party” and entitled to attorney fees and costs. Libit’s declaration can be viewed at http://muchnick.net/libitdeclaration.pdf.
The Intercollegiate@TheIntercollege·NEW PODCAST: “I’ve been covering the death of Ted Agu at Cal since before Ted Ago died.” Investigative sports journalist @irvmuch talks about his three-year-long public records court battle with @UCBerkeley. Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-intercollegiate/id1483075553