Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pressler's Lawsuit & Newsday's April 9 Article

In Pressler's lawsuit it contains these points.

15. In March 2007, the parties entered into an Agreement entitled "Confidential Agreement," Because of its confidentially requirements, Coach. Pressler has filed with this Complaint a motion to file the "Confidential Agreement" under seal.

16. At all relevant times, the defendant employed as its official spokesman, with a title of Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, John Burness (hereinafter -the defendant's official spokesman").

17. In the course and scope of his employment, the defendant's official spokesman made defamatory and disparaging statements against Coach Pressler that were published on April 9, 2007 in Newsday and later posted on a website,

18. The defendant's official spokesman falsely told Newsday that Coach Pressler was terminated because he had not adequately supervised his team. Specifically, the defendant's official spokesman claimed justification for the firing of Coach Pressler by stating, 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." The defendant's official spokesman further drew disparaging and defamatory contrasts between Coach Pressler and his recently hired replacement, saying that the difference between Coach Pressler and the new coach was "day and night," and quoting the defendant's President Richard Brodhead as remarking of this difference, '`This guy's a mensch. This guy gets it.'

19. The defendant's official spokesman's devastating and false assessments of the plaintiff were defamatory and disparaging, and breached an essential and dependent covenant of the Confidential Agreement.

A LS Forum member had this copy of the April 9, 2007 article by Steven Marcus which is no longer on line. This is the article mentioned in Mike Pressler's lawsuit.

Duke looks within for solutions
April 9, 2007
by Steven Marcus

Whatever the state attorney general says and whenever he say it, do not expect Duke University to give the lacrosse players named in last spring's scandal any commendations from the University.

Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Garden City's Collin Finnerty indicted of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense after a female dancer claimed she was assaulted at a team party. The rape charge was dropped by District Attorney Mike Nifong, who himself is under investigation for ethics violations. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is reviewing the remaining charges. Finnerty has taken classes at Hofstra and volunteers as a coach at Chaminade.

None of the three have attempted to return to Duke, where as one administrator said, they are "no choirboys" regardless of the outcome of the legal matters. Duke has been humbled, knocked down a peg on the prestigious scale of universities, admits John Burness, a former Stony Brook University official and current senior vice president and media point man at Duke throughout the sordid episode.

We have been the exemplar of doing athetics and academics right, "said Burness, who was the assistant to the president at Stony Brook from 1969-73. "If this was virtually any other place in the county it wouldn't have led to this type of national attention. I think our arrogance over time contributed to this. That's part of the pedestal issue. Duke had become something like the Yankees in the public mind...People either love or hate us. We're held to a higher standard for students who are wearing our uniforms.

Duke reviewed its own house and is dealing with the exposed warts. A special committee found, among other issues, what it termed Duke's "own ambiguity regarding underage alcohol consumption [concluding that the University] conveys inconsistent messages and confuses expectations regarding alcohol. Duke University has fostered a number of problems among its undergraduates, including lacrosse players, by its ambivalent polices toward underage and over consumption of alcohol at Duke. The problem now needs serious review and remediation within the university.

"The report also cited an unspecified number of lacrosse players [in the past] who have"disturbed neighbors with loud music and noise, both on and off campus. They have publicly urinated both on campus and off. They have shown disrespect for property. Both the number of [lacrosse] teams members implicated in this behavior and the number of alcohol related incidents involving them have been excessive compared to other Duke athletic teams..."

Burness said, "We have much stronger codes that are bring enforced. We have a much higher degree of accountability; there's no ambiguity about that.

"Duke as a institution has a reputation to repair and that is paramount over clearing the names of the players involved in last spring's party at an off campus party at the off campus residence populated by lacrosse players. "We said at the beginning of this the ultimate test is not the issue itself, but more so five years from now when people look back and say how we dealt with it. "These are teachable moments. If you don't use something like this to do a little self-reflection and self-analysis, there's something wrong with you."

What are the things we should be looking at doing differently? How does housing fit in, what is the social life in a place like this and does it reinforce the academic and intellectual side of the institution. A lot of provocative questions were raised."

A major component in the Duke assessment was coaching. "One of the things we certainly have come to understand in this case is that the coaches in general in each sports are responsible for the behavior or their teams. "Burness said. That's why Duke doesn't have the same coach, Mike Pressler.

Former Hofstra coach John Danowski, 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 guys's a mench. This guy gets it."

Even if all charges are dropped against the players, Buress believes other legal hurdles exist for the university. "We're expecting that there's probably going to be civil suits from folks trying to get money out of us, that comes with the turf."

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?"

Hat Tip: Clowns


Anonymous said...

Why does Duke continue to have Burness speak for them? Those statements are stupid stupid stupid! Esepcially after settling the matter.

Go for it coach!

Anonymous said...

Why does Burness still have a job? Does he have blackmail material on Steel or Brodhead?

Anonymous said...

Open and shut case.

Anonymous said...

"If this was" or "If this were" can someone tell me and why . . . ?

Anonymous said...

Cheek was approached by former Nifong campaign manager Jackie Brown, insurance broker Dan Hill, former Sheriff Roland Leary and state juvenile justice official Ed Pope about their concerns over Nifong's public statements in the lacrosse case and the intense national spotlight aimed at Durham. The group raised money and sent 25,000 mailers to Durham residents that included a petition and a postage-paid envelope.

Organizers turned in nearly 10,000 signatures, and elections officials certified many more than the 6,303 that Cheek needed to get on the ballot. A second petition campaign, also responding to discontent over the lacrosse case, fell short of the required signatures.

Jul 12, 2006

Anonymous said...

After reading the thread "Theory for the Weary" on the LS forum, it hit me like a ton of bricks exactly *why* Duke is acting the way they are, why CGM has done what she did (false accusations she couldn't keep straight) and the DPD/Nifong falsely prosected the Duke 3.

They're all in cahoots together. What *IF* Brodhead and Burness wanted to go after the LAX team with a sting--to get rid of the program? Hire a stripper who claims rape. Prosecute the boys, end the program and be done with the whole sport on Duke's campus. Easily done when you have a dirty DA, a dirty PD and Gottlieb who likes to go after Duke kids.
They're ALL in this up to their hypothesis is that Brodhead and Burness put this whole thing into motion--they just never thought it would cause a national uproar....
Things that make you go hmmmmmm...

Anonymous said...

During July,

Anonymous said...

When will the politically correct arrogance of the Duke adminisration and its pot-banging faculty end? Clearly, not until a few more wallets have been drained. I have never been in favor of civil suits for such purposes until I saw this miserable rape-hoax-fiasco unfold. A defamation suit is the ONLY way to get these clowns to finally SHUT UP. Pressler 1, Duke 0, apology irrelevant. But the game I want to see is the 43 Lacrosse players not bound by Duke's previous settlement suing the Gang of 88. Go Blue Devils! Thanks for not waiting!!!

Anonymous said...

What gets me is I have never seen a more incompetent spokeperson that Burness. He is constantly screwing things up yet he is the VP of public affairs.

If this is the level of management skills in Duke's administration no wonder they have become a laughing stock. I wouldn't have them run a 7/11.

Anonymous said...

Soneone has to come clean... who put the word "mench" into Brodhead's mouth?

This sounds like nothing more than another "shoot from the lip" fabrication of that pathetic fool and liar, John Burness.

Anonymous said...

Re: "If I were...vs If I was."
Google Subjunctive case for full answer, but the short one is, in a hypothetical situation, you use the subjunctive case: "If I were a rich man...." "If she were younger..." In an indicative case, or one based on actuality, use "If I was wrong, I apologize."
(refering to an actual incident.
"If I was angry then, look at me now." Hope that helps. It is one of my biggest bugaboos and I have always insisted my children use it properly, even though most of their teachers don't understand it. Think of it as setting you apart from mere mortals....a literary superiority :)

Anonymous said...

Good....Burness just cost Duke another few million. Duke 88, Duke Administration you just keep talking your garbage, spewing your lies and twisting the truth...justice will bleed you dry. Duke can't even keep their legal agreements.

Anonymous said...

Nifong said the petition drive that placed Cheek on the ballot was an effort by a few Durham residents to try to buy the District Attorney's Office.

He said that during his primary campaign earlier this year, Cheek and two men who eventually backed Cheek's petition drive -- Ed Pope and Roland Leary -- visited him to give campaign advice. Nifong said he did not take the advice. He said that later he thought that Pope, a state juvenile justice official, and Leary, a former sheriff, wanted to control the district attorney.

"I realized that their concern had not been with the concept of a small group of people owning the District Attorney's Office but with the concept of it being owned by someone other than them," he said.

W. R. Chambers said...

One of the hazards of being a VP for Public Affairs and Government Relations is liking one's job too much, enjoying the limelight and the attention too much.

If one feels totally comfortable before the camera or microphone or in interviews with a reporter, and one talks a lot extemporaneously there is a risk that one will start to give one's personal views, or will forget that while what one is saying may accurately reflect what the client said in private may very well conflict with what should be said on the client's behalf.

If Duke is lucky, none of Coach Pressler's prospective employers knew of the miserable swipes Burness took at Pressler after the settlement agreement.

Regardless of whether Burness's statements harmed Pressler's efforts to get the job he now has, until Duke apologizes and completely clears Pressler, he may have a stigma attached to him for the rest of his professional life.

Duke and Burness should apologize to Pressler and to his family privately and publicaly and then put out a press release declaring Pressler innocent of the charges Burness made against him and expressing regret that Pressler and his family were dragged into the Nifong Nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Off topic
Now Nifong wants the state to foot his legal bills

Anonymous said...

Forget the apology - get the dough. I hope we find out- did Coach and defendents settle with Duke University alone or was DUMC, part of the deal. My money is on Duke University all by its lonesome.

Anonymous said...

Himan said "With what".

Burness said "For what".

One day "what" will be a 4 letter word on the campus of Duke and in the city of Durham.

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