by Irvin Muchnick
In response to Concussion Inc.’s queries to several University of California officials — this one to campus police chief Margo Bennett — the executive director of the university’s office of public affairs today told me the police investigation of the November 1 locker room altercation that sent Cal football player Fabiano Hale to the hospital with a concussion could have a disposition as soon as next week.
“The case in question remains under investigation, though we expect it to conclude shortly,” Dan Mogulof said in an email.
My email to Chief Bennett had named Hale’s alleged attacker, based on information from two informed sources. So did a query to Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks, who I believe — because the back story speaks to the football program’s culture and the overall collapsed values of student athletics at Cal — is obliged to address questions beyond whether the assailant will be charged with a crime.
Specifically: Sandy Barbour, the athletic director who now presides over the major sports program with the very worst record in the country in graduating its players, has become a national embarrassment to the 35 million citizens of our most populous state.
And football head coach Sonny Dykes, who is pleading for time to turn around the program — mostly, however, in reference to its won-loss record, and mostly by blaming his teenage underlings — is doing little better. In his first, and I believe only, public statements on the Hale affair, in response to questions he cut off at a general press conference attended by beat writers, Dykes tried to dismiss the whole controversy as an example of kids making “mistakes.”
Football strength and conditioning coach Damon Harrington also remains silent. Our sources say one of Hale’s teammates sucker-punched and beat him after Fabiano missed a scheduled weightlifting session to study for an exam. The coach ordered double sets for the players in attendance, and in what may be shown to have been an incitement to violence, advised his angry charges that Hale was to blame and they should take their complaints to him.
My emails and faxes to Cal officials have not contradicted the attacker’s name therein. This further suggests that our sources have this detail right, though in light of university spokesman Mogulof’s assertion that a police resolution is imminent, I am holding off on publishing the name. This player’s contact information is not published at the Cal online directory, but I have asked the athletic director to forward my message inviting his side of the story.