Sunday, October 14, 2007

Coach Pressler files Lawsuit

Pressler Lawsuit
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Mike Pressler, who was the Duke University men's lacrosse coach in 2006 has filed a lawsuit over disparaging remarks about him in interviews by Duke officials. He claims in a lawsuit this was a violation of the settlement agreement. Newsobserver

Earlier this year when the settlement was announced John Burness, Duke's VP for public affairs, had these remarks.

"Coach Pressler is an excellent coach and did a great job building the Duke men's lacrosse program," John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs, told The Associated Press. "Unfortunately last spring it was essential for the team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward.

"We regret the negative consequences this decision had on Coach Pressler. He and Duke reached an amicable, fair financial settlement in which Duke recognized his contributions to the lacrosse program and the circumstances of his departure." Post

The date & content of the settlement was never released. However the verbose John Burness has made many strange remarks over the last six months which include saying there will be no apologies to the indicted lacrosse players.

Burness said there is a segment of the population that has asked him if Duke will apologize to the players if their legal problems disappear. "I said," Burness replied, "for what?"

"One of the things we certainly have come to understand in this case is that the coaches in general in each of our sports are responsible for the behavior of their teams," Burness said. That's why Duke doesn't have the same coach, Mike Pressler. Former Hofstra coach John Danowksi, who took over for Pressler, has added needed transparency. His team is an open book. Nothing is off limits. "Danowski is night and day," Burness said. "As our president (Richard H. Brodhead) said, `This guy's a mench. This guy gets it.' '' Johnsville

One wonders when Duke University will get a new spokesperson?

Hat Tip: Johnsville News for the April 9th Steven Marcus Newsday article

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

see:

http://www.vector64.com/pressler001.pdf

Anonymous said...

Don't misuse a good Jewish word, a "mensch." How would you know what a "mensch" is? The lack of understanding is why there has been such difficulty at Duke and Durham. You have a lot of little bullies who cannot seem to keep their collective mouth shut . . . a group of moral degenerates . . . having a spring break party pales by comparison to this behavior that has become the "party" for Duke, its administration, and the DukeGroup88.

W. R. Chambers said...

Who on earth would hire Pressler if they thought he was in any way responsible for what happened to say nothing of what didn't happen? Burness's staement says: "Danowitz is day. Pressler is night. Danowitz 'gets it' and is a mensch. Pressler - wasn't he at Duke for16 years? - didn't 'get it' and wasn't 'a mensch."

Even if athletic directors believed Pressler was a great coach in no way responsible for what happened (and didn't happen), given Duke's contradictory statements about Pressler, it is easy to imagine that AD's would be reluctant to recommend Pressler be hired. The public perception risk might be too great.

Add to that reluctance the fact that there are not a lot of head coaching jobs in lacrosse and far fewer programs of Duke's calibre, and you can see what Duke did to Pressler and his family.

I doubt there is any merit in Burness's derogatory comparison between Danowski and Pressler (who are, I think, good friends), but even if there were faintly plausibe basis for what Burness said, apparently Duke, as part of the "amicable settlement" had promised not to say anything critical of Pressler.

In retrospect it seems that the ink was hardly dry on the settlement agreement before Duke took a public swipe at Pressler while he was confronted with the already difficult job of finding a job, making the challenge of putting his life back together even more difficult.

Pressler's book (written with Don Yaeger) is entitled, in part, "It's Not About The Truth."

The two pending lawsuits are about the truth.

It is a shame that so much harm continues to flow from the actions of a corrupt, mean-spirited, greedy, vicious politician/prosecutor, who used his vast governmental power with same kind of malignant judgment used to swift-boat John Kerry during the last Presidential campaign and smear John McCain in the South Carolina primary during the Republican primary before the last Presidential campaign.

A lot of decent people have been pulled into the Nifong nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Amen! I could not agree more, and as I have said for over 2 years now, that there MUST be reform, and way past time to oust the bad apples, instead of hiding them at the bottom of the barrel.
Rhonda

Anonymous said...

I hope Mr. Pressler's lawsuit encourages the unindicted lacrosse players to file their suit against Duke.

Anonymous said...

w. r. chambers:

"same kind of malignant judgment used to swift-boat John Kerry "

Ah yes. I was waiting for the lurking liberal bias to finally appear. You couldn't help yourself, I'll bet:-)

It might be a good time to reflect how the giant MSM media machine was out maneuvered by the Swift boat volunteeers. It might make for a good book!

Ken
Dallas

W. R. Chambers said...

the same liberal bias I suppose that smeared John McCain............

Anonymous said...

w. r. Chambers:

"the same liberal bias I suppose that smeared John McCain............"

Actually, I have no evidence that you tried to smear John McCain.

Ken
Dallas

W. R. Chambers said...

evidence? there's an interesting idea.........wasn't of much interest to Nifong.......the truth wasnt' of much interest to Duke......

to clarify the confusion that I evidently created, here's what I originally wrote that was taken as evidence of liberal bias:

"with same kind of malignant judgment used to swift-boat John Kerry during the last Presidential campaign and smear John McCain in the South Carolina primary during the Republican primary before the last Presidential campaign"

Anonymous said...

w.r. chambers:

I think I understand now. You're a John McCain and John Kerry supporter.

For a minute there, I thought you were pulling my leg.

Ken
Dallas

Anonymous said...

w.r. chambers

"The same kind of malignant judgment to swift-boat John Kerry"?

Evidently you have formed your opinion of the Swift Boat vets from CNN, MSNBC and the rest. Why don't you try reading "Unfit for Command" and actually find out what it was about? The willful ignorance of a subject that you use to support your argument is the same type of faulty judgment that helped Nifong stay in place so long. By the way, we are still waiting for John Kerry to honor his promise to release his full military record as the Swift Boat Vets have done. My guess, he will promise much but never release them. Chambers, why not try actually learning about a subject before pronouncing on it? Haven't we had enough of that?

W. R. Chambers said...

This is a blog about Mike Pressler's lawsuit against Duke. If I had thought that by making a reference to swift boating or to the scurrilous rumors started against John McCain would have prompted a debate about swift boating or my political views, I would have chosen a different analogy. For the record, I'm neither a Kerry supporter nor a McCain supporter although I admire both men. The words Republican and Democrat make me vaguely nauseous. I think politics as practiced in this country is a public health hazard.

It is surprising to me that a single reference to swift boating on a blog about a coach's lawsuit against Duke has elicited such spirited replies. But, so be it.......if you wish to continue the debate/discussion about the merits of swift boating, please carry on without me.

For better or worse, fairly or unfairly, the word "swiftboating" has taken on a generally accepted meaning: Swiftboating is American political jargon that is used (primarily) as a strong pejorative description of some kind of attack that the speaker considers unfair—for example, an ad hominem attack or a smear campaign. see the entire entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiftboating

I can see that you think I agree with those who characterized Kerry as a hero. I don't. I don't care if he's a hero or not. He served in Viet Nam. That's enough for me. His opponent didn't, which was enough for him. His campaign's effort to take advantage of his service in Viet Nam and his opponent's efforts to "set the record straight" were, I think, unseemly and distracted from the real issues in the campaign, which is exactly what's happening on this blog.

I can certainly understand how people who served with a man who they believe falsely claimed to be a hero would be outraged. But that has nothing to do with this blog. That someone uses "swiftboating" as it is popularly understand, should not give rise to charges of acting like Mike Nifong.

Anonymous said...

3:22 Agree completely.

Anonymous said...

One of these days, maybe, Duke, its administration, and its faculty will actually apologize. Until then, they can expect many more lawsuits, many more dollars in defense costs, and more negative publicity. They deserve every bit of this - every single bit.

Anonymous said...

"It is surprising to me that a single reference to swift boating on a blog about a coach's lawsuit against Duke has elicited such spirited replies. But, so be it.......if you wish to continue the debate/discussion about the merits of swift boating, please carry on without me."

You remind me of the 88 Duke Professors. They raise hell about their own students, people react to their words and they cry "foul."

You used a term, "swiftboating" that is carries a political meaning and then criticize someone who responded.

I totally agree that these particular postings should be about Coach Pressler and not the Republican or Democratic parties.

For that reason, I respectfully suggest that you refrain from throwing political words into the discussion and concentrate on the subject at hand.

Anonymous said...

On the changing meaning of "Swift Boat" and whether it's popular meaning has any application to what Nifong did in the Duke case see

http://mediamatters.org/columns/200707240001

Anonymous said...

And to keep everyone happy see:

The Proper Definition of "Swiftboat" the Verb

at

http://wizbangblog.com/content/2007/04/19/the-proper-definition-of-swift.php

Did Nifong "swift boat" the Duke players?

Did Burness "swift boat" Pressler?

No matter what definition one uses, the meaning of to "swift boat" includes to attack. The definitional issue seems to be whether the charges made in the attack are substantiated or unsubstantiated. Given that Duke apparently promised not to say anything negative about Pressler, whether what Burness said about Pressler could arguably be substantiated (doubtful) is irrelevant.

Instead of spending time on what swift boat actually means or should mean why not introduce a new word: "Nifonged" meaning to intentionally misuse prosecutorial power to charge innoncent people with horrendous crimes in order to win an election. That definition is not long enough to cover all Nifong did, but it's a start.

And as for Mr. Burness's comments about Mike Pressler, what is a fair characterization?

As for the lawsuit, I wonder what the evidence of damages will be.

Anonymous said...

I hope this lawsuit is not kept underwraps and everyone gets to see what Duke will have to pay out for this one. Keep the lawsuits coming. They have to learn they can't say lies about people in the press, slander and make things up and get away with it because they are the almighty Duke. Their professors have attacked the players in the press, especially the 3 falsely accused. Brodhead has publically denounced the players, and their professors, administration and press spokesperson continues to try and cover their tails and actions with derogatory comments and slander about the coach Pressler and the players. So keep suing the bastards until their coffers are empty.

Jim in San Diego said...

Many in official positions at Duke seem to have a feeling of invulnerability.

Tenured professors. Senior administrators. They feel bullet proof in the knowledge nothing within Duke will modify their behavior.

Unfortunately for them, the law protects us all. At trial, it will not avail a tortfeasor that he is tenured, or important, or protected by a stubborn university president or unconscious Board of Trustees.

If I were Mr. Burness' attorney, I would advise him to shut up. If I were Duke's attorney, I would advise the Board of Trustees that Mr. Burness is a significant legal liability to Duke. If I were coach Pressler's attorney, I would advise him to proceed cautiously with the expense and exposure of civil litigation but, when settlements are intentionally broken, go for it.

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