The Nuttster’s re-filed his lawsuit against Ole Miss. I don’t know if he’ll prevail in court, but in the short term, the allegations in his complaint show that Ross Bjork, the AD, was definitely working the phones to throw off the scent in the court of public opinion.
Bjork, in fact, had retained the services of an outside public relations consultant — Brian Curtis, who runs the Atlanta-based Paradigm Four firm, has sort of a niche business in college sports — and the lawsuit details numerous communications with him documented in public records around those key times.
Mars’ lawsuit says “two-thirds of AD Bjork’s cell phone calls on January 29-30, 2016 were with sports journalists, Coach Freeze, and the three members of the AD’s PR team. Ten of those conversations were between AD Bjork and (Kyle) Campbell, the head of PR who reported directly to AD Bjork. … University phone logs show that on a typical day, AD Bjork would have had no more than a few calls with (that group of people).”
The lawsuit then details a play-by-play of phone calls between Freeze, Bjork and other officials in the inner-circle correlated with information reported by journalists that day.
There was a 13-minute call between Campbell and ESPN’s Chris Low, who later in the day tweeted “I’m told the Ole Miss Notice of Allegations doesn’t contain any surprises. Most of it predates Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss knew it was coming.” There was a call between Freeze and then-Fox Sports (now Sports Illustrated) reporter Bruce Feldman, who cited anonymous sources in saying “the majority of the allegations stem from women’s basketball and track as well as from incidents occurring with the previous Rebels football staff from the Houston Nutt era.” Ed Aschoff of ESPN, who had spoken with Bjork earlier that afternoon, wrote in a news story, quoting an anonymous source, “This is a fraction involving our current football staff.”
It’s one thing to lie your ass off when you’re doing your damnedest to keep your football program from going off the rails. It’s another to make national media members look like spoon-fed idiots. I’m guessing these reporters may find themselves on the receiving end of a deposition summons, which should do wonders for their feelings about Ole Miss football and Bjork in particular.
More popcorn, please.