I am he/ As you are he/ As you are me/ And we are all together
Those would be the lyrics of the Beatles iconic tune that Russ Smith and Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear and Montrezl Harrell are likely not singing this day, if they’ve digested the gist of the lawsuit filed by their 2013 teammates against the NCAA.
Those plaintiffs are Luke Hancock and Gorgui Dieng and Tim Henderson and Michael Marra and Stephan Van Treese, who have in essence demanded that ruling body of college sports clear their names but not those of their teammates, declare the claimants again champions and winners of the victories taken away.
Maybe it’s just me, but the whole deal smells like those involved in the suit are throwing their teammates under the bus. Where’s the one for all, all for one team spirit?
And who’s the Walrus?
Well, that would be the bloviating bear of a barrister John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan. You’ve seen the incessant ads from this predatory national law collective, carpetbagging in Kentucky without any significant historical presence in the Louisville community.
Morgan was in full bluster at Wednesday’s press conference confirming the suit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court.
”We are used to fighting Goliath every single day.”
Goo goo g’joob, dude.
Huffing and puffing as to how his clients’ names have been besmirched, he said the five named players want their names cleared.
”By God, they’re (NCAA) going to do it if we have to drag them down here by the hair from Indianapolis to the courthouse.”
The national firm’s major domo Morgan dragged himself up from Orlando so he could be front and center at the presser.
See how they fly.
Luke Hancock, the guy who went trey trey trey trey in the title game W over Michigan who was named the ‘13 Final Four MOP, appears the front man for these five plaintiffs. He was present at the press conference announcing the litigation.
His disconsolation is certainly understandable. He led the Cards to victory that magic weekend in front of his dying father. He was the first sub to be named MOP of the Final Four. It was the moment that every kid who ever dribbled a slightly underinflated ball in a back alley dreams of.
He says he’s asked about the strippers and Minardi Hall shenanigans every couple of days. (Maybe he should seek some consolation from Terry Howard, who has said he’s asked every single day about missing that FT against UCLA in the ‘75 national semi.)
So, I acknowledge these team members pain, especially Hancock’s. Their consternation is real.
Of course I’m still sad the NCAA took the unprecedented actions against my beloved Cardinals they did.
But there’s something about this suit that seems ill advised, not well considered and a smack in the face of the plaintiff’s teammates. It’s like these guys are saying, “OK maybe the other guys did something, but it’s not our fault, so forget them, reinstate everything for us anyway.”
The previous lawsuit filed by a group of fans, seeking a return of the title, is pure BS. It is seeking reinstatement of the championship and has zero chance of success.
Without going into all details, and, let us say, some, uh, creative legal theories of some of Hancock et al’s claims -- Ask the Egg Man -- there does appear to be merit to a few of the claims here. These guys who may be totally innocent of any peccadillos have been maligned.
But the penalties are against the university, the program, not these individuals.
Some merit notwithstanding, I wish it had never been filed. Even should the NCAA clear these guy’s names, the sanctions were against the school, against the whole team. No win is going to be reinstated. No title is going to be returned.
And their teammates, without whom any title would have been captured, will still be left like road kill by the side of the highway.
And, unfortunately, prevail in court or not, Hancock, like Terry Howard, is going to be asked about this for the rest of his days.
No outcome from this litigation is going to change that.
Just as the NCAA’s sanctions haven’t erased the reality that U of L won the title, and all those other games vacated.
-- Seedy K