Judge Orders Magazine to Reveal Sources

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Well, at least it?s a case of National Security. Oh, wait?.

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  1. He was a public employee, among the highest paid not only at the university but in the entire state of Alabama.

    He (or whoever was in his room) rang up a $1,000 room service tab on a University of Alabama credit card.

    He’s an educator responsible for leading the young men under his charge.

    He’s a public figure whose behavior reflects on the university community.

    Making a public spectacle of yourself by carousing all night in a titty bar and then going home with a couple of dancers not your wife may not be “relevant” to the game on the field. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get fired if you’re a high-profile public figure, being paid with taxpayer money, for a job that also includes the reasonable expectation that you not damage reputation of the institution that hired you.

    Forget about being drunk and horny. How about just plain stupid?

  2. In response to the questions about what happened with Price and whether this justified his being fired, here’s a bit of background.

    Price had been hired as head football coach at the University of Alabama after the school had gone through a very difficult period of several years. A previous coach’s assistants had been accused (by the NCAA) of cheating and the school had been slapped with serious scholarship sanctions. The following coach had left after two years because he didn’t want to deal with the aftermath of the cheating scandal. Price was hired to be the one to come in and be a long-term stabilizing influence and fix the problems. By the time he had been on the job for a couple of months, there were rumors swirling of him getting drunk in public and buying drinks for underage university students. (Whether there was any truth to those rumors, I don’t know.)

    Price was appearing at a golf tournament in Pensacola, Fla., and had gone down a day early for a public dinner. Afterwards, he apparently went to at least one (and possibly two) strip clubs and got drunk. Dancers at at least one of the clubs claim that he was getting lap dances and continually trying to touch them in other ways. What happened after that is very murky. Price claims that he was too drunk to make it back to the hotel, so an unidentified woman helped him back to the hotel and spent the night in the room with him, although he claims both were fully clothed when he woke up the next morning. Some dancers at the club claimed to have had sex with him, although at least one of them has retracted the claim since then. After Price left for the golf tournament, a woman in the room ordered more than $1,000 in room service food using Price’s university-issued credit card. The hotel called Price, and he later returned to pay the bill himself.

    Especially in light of the situation into which he had been hired (and the rumors that had already been circulating), the university president believed he had no choice by to fire him. The university’s trustees seem to have been willing to give him another chance, but the president made the decision to let him go. In retrospect, I think it was the right move.

  3. Not to mention that Alabama does most of its recruiting in the heart of the Bible Belt, and a coach with Price’s reputation would have a significant disadvantage when recruiting athletes whose parents and background are religious. So Price’s conduct almost certainly would have become a job performance handicap.

  4. SI has a first amendment right to print the story. But, that is not a right to commit liable and slander. There’s nothing in the first amendment that protects reporters’ sources. Apparently there is such protection for “newspaper, television and radio reporters” in Alabama. As far as I’m concerned unnamed sources are the same as no sources. If you don’t know who’s saying it you can’t hold them accountable for having said it.

    So I’m OK with this either way. On the one hand I don’t think SI should be given a pass on accountability. On the other hand, Alabama law would clearly insulate USA Today if they had ran the same story. I don’t think the technicality of magazine vs. newspaper is relevant here.

  5. From what I have followed, Price has several admirable years at Wash State before taking the Alabama job. What he did or didn’t do is beyond my cares, but it does seem pretty out of character so give the guy a chance to face his accusers and defend himself. That to me seems to at least have more constitutional protections than to shield accusers under the 1st admendment.

  6. Help me out here people. How exactly does this guy partying it up at a strip club and maybe (or maybe not) having sex with two presumably consenting adults in the hotel later justify his firing? Is he the coach of an all girl choir? Based on my observations of many professional atheletes, this would have constituted role modeling?!? Why were his activities off court/field/diamond relevant? Were players involved? Did he show up late and hung-over for the “big game”? If SI is freaked out about having to reveal sources that accused him of this behavior, perhaps they should have considered that before dumping his personal life onto the pages of their rag. Arent they supposed to be talking about sports? I don’t recall seeing beer swilling or stripper humping in the last Olympics. Although that might make them more interesting. …Maybe in the winter games…

  7. If I remember this correctly, and if I’m not someone set me straigt, the tab for all of his fun was on the Universities dime. And it was a pretty big tab.

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