Without Helmets or Shoulder Pads: The American Way of Death in Football Conditioning will be published on October 3 by ECW Press. See the cover image now at our home page. Advance praise and preorder information shortly.
The propensity of state bar associations to coddle perpetrators of professional misconduct, when they’re supposed to be disciplining them, is a long-discussed breach of the social contract. Donald Trump henchman Rudy Giuliani pushed misrepresentations in numerous courts about the integrity of the 2020 election, confident that it would take years of such lies before the bar authorities would even begin to think about moves to revoke his license.
California is a venue where bar oversight corruption is now playing out in public view. One offshoot of the story involves my efforts, under the state’s Public Records Act, to liberate information in the cover-up of the 2014 death of University of California football player Ted Agu.
My case ebbed and flowed for six years, until a state Court of Appeal last fall reversed a lower Superior Court finding that my attorney, Roy S. Gordet, would be reimbursed $125,000 in legal fees. We were no longer the “prevailing party” for having spurred UC’s belated release of more than 700 pages of documents related to Agu death’s from exertional sickling, which at first was inaccurately reported as a cardiac episode.
I believe that a UC senior counsel named Michael R. Goldstein helped bring about that unfortunate result by floating particular blatant lies to courts. While the stakes may not have been Giuliani-esque, they weren’t trivial either. In an amicus brief on my behalf at the Court of Appeal, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the California First Amendment Coalition wrote that the university’s move for sanctions against me for bringing a “clearly frivolous case” added up to a threat to “saddle ordinary [public records act] requesters who would assert their rights … with potentially devastating attorneys’ fees.” The threat alone, they added, “could chill the willingness of members of the public with legitimate claims to pursue litigation to enforce their right to access information.”