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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pokey Chatman: Wrongly Resigned

According to former LSU women's hoops coach Pokey Chatman's lawyer, she was mislead and pressured into resigning her position by the LSU administration.

Interestingly enough, LSU wasted little time after their season ended and brought in a Hall of Fame coach. Who just happens to be a white male. Certainly no connection between pressuring Negro female Chatman to leave Baton Rouge and talking an elderly white male coach out of retirement to take her desk. None whatsoever, we trust.

""You can't con somebody into something and then hold them to the agreement," Pierson later told ESPN.com."

Apparently, LSU mislead Chatman into believing she had no options but either resigning or being fired.

"Chatman's attorney, Mary Olive Pierson, said Tuesday her client was given about two hours to resign or be fired on March 7 amid allegations she had inappropriate sexual relationships with former players."

The choices seem pretty clear, so we suspect that the administration mislead Chatman with the allegations.

"They said, 'This is your option -- you're out of here or you're out of here.' That's pretty much what they said."

And, from a legal standpoint, we believe that the law provides that there must be choices which provide options that are satisfactory to all parties. One can't just give someone two options, with similar outcomes, for allegedly engaging in conduct unacceptable for a teacher/coach. Legal precedent suggests that she should have been given some sort of out that would have been to her benefit.

"Reached late Tuesday, LSU general counsel Ray Lamonica said the university gave Chatman two options on March 7 -- resign as head women's basketball coach or be put on administrative leave while the investigation continued. "

So, the university admits, that they essentially only gave Chatman one option. To cease coaching. Accepting the "option" of administrative leave while the investigation continued probably folds into Chatman's lawyer's complaint about being conned. If they were asking her to resign, why would they need to continue the investigation? Wouldn't they have all the information needed? How could you suggest someone resign if you didn't have the full details?

And this is where things get murky.

If Chatman knew the university didn't have full details, she probably never would have resigned. She assumed, when the university suggested resignation, that they knew the whole story. Which would have left her with no option, save to leave town. If she had known they didn't have full disclosure, there would have been time to conduct damage control and possibly paint a different picture to the situation. Essentially, the university robbed Chatman and her counsel of the opportunity to spin. And, in this circumstance, that hardly seems fair.

"Within a couple of hours, Pierson said, her client was forced to resign. She said LSU claimed to not know the names of the athletes who were involved in the alleged relationships, and said the university made no attempt to interview them. "

Chatman must have been confused by the situation. Normally, if a complainant would ask for a resignation, and made it known they didn't have details, the target of the complaint would probably not simply agree to the complaint and resign. It might look like you admit to the complaint. Clearly, in this case, the resignation was not an admission of truth to the complaint, but rather a result of pressure, innuendo and confusion.

"Pierson also said the university cited an "absolute zero tolerance" policy involving coach-player relationships that Chatman's camp later discovered didn't exist. "If I'd have known on March 7th they didn't have a policy," Pierson said, "she would not have resigned."

And that seems fair enough. Firstly, if the university didn't have a policy delineating the limits between teachers/coaches and students, how is the teacher/coach to know that it is wrong to have sex with the students that they act as a father/mother figure for? Additionally, is it fair to expect the legal counsel of Chatman to familiarize herself with the university policies? This is looking more and more like strong-arm tactics designed to quickly get Chatman out of the picture so that the old white guy can take over the program that Chatman had built into one of the best.

Asked about a written zero-tolerance policy, Lamonica (LSU attorney) referred to NCAA bylaws and said Chatman's contract outlaid conduct policies. "Does anybody believe you can do this kind of stuff and not have sanctions?" he said.

Clearly, Lamonica has not discussed this with Chatman's counsel.

"Frankly, it was my clear impression that the university had taken about two weeks to a) get one version of the story from Ms. Berry; b) make no effort to contact Coach Chatman to seek her input into the situation; c) make no effort to validate the unsubstantiated stories being told by Ms. Berry; d) rush to judgment; and e) terminate Coach Chatman and try to make it look like a voluntary resignation," she wrote. "For a timely analogy, I suggest that the decision making process applied in this case was created by someone who must have graduated from the Nifong school of decision making."

The one dissimilarity in the case: The Duke players vocally and vehemently denied the accusations, and the white media reported the denials. For some reason the white media has never reported on any denials to the accusations by Ms. Chatman. Obviously, she would have denied untrue or unsubstantiated stories.

Though the relations were never outright denied in the e-mail, Pierson did call the claims "stories" based on hearsay. She said those "stories," according to the university, took place when Chatman was an assistant coach.

So, it becomes clearer. Chatman's lawyer is not going to issue a denial on her clients behalf, because stories based on hearsay are beneath denial. They require no response. Additionally adding to the mounting argument of Chatman's lawyer is: if this happened when she was an assistant coach, what does that have to do with her head coaching career?

Obviously, Chatman is the victim here. Conned into a resignation after the administration caught wind of some "stories" and mounted a lynching party. The victim of an unsympathetic media, an unclear code of conduct and an inability to effectively communicate a denial.

This isn't about money. This is about fair and equal treatment.

Pierson also said further legal action is likely if Chatman isn't compensated for the final two years of her contract.

10 comments:

Martin said...

Sir, Nolan Richardson smiles at Ms. Chatman's chances.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"Sir, Nolan Richardson smiles at Ms. Chatman's chances."

Sir, you mean figureatively, right?

We don't believe Nolan has ever smiled.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said except this: "Firstly, if the university didn't have a policy delineating the limits between teachers/coaches and students, how is the teacher/coach to know that it is wrong to have sex with the students that they act as a father/mother figure for?"

Don't you think it is a reasonable assumption that a teacher/coach should know it is wrong to have sex with the students they act as a father/mother figure for?

Though the facts are still unclear, I have read that the relationship in question was actually one that began when Chatman was a senior at LSU and began a relationship with a freshman player on the team. After Chatman graduated she continued the relationship (why not?!) and then she became an assistant coach and later the head coach, all the while continuing this relationship that began when both women were players on the team.

Are we to expect that the relationship should have been terminated when Chatman was hired as an assistant coach? I think not! This is a very complicated situation and quite frankly I think that there is an issue of "LOVE" here as opposed to "inappropriate sexual contact."

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"Don't you think it is a reasonable assumption that a teacher/coach should know it is wrong to have sex with the students they act as a father/mother figure for? "

Sir, we may assume that, but we aren't high profile college coaches. If there was no language in the contract addressing it...and her lawyer was unaware of any zero tolerance policy...well, what is left as a guide for her actions?

"I think that there is an issue of "LOVE" here as opposed to "inappropriate sexual contact."


Sir, we believe the situation isn't that complicated. Some might suggest that if the issue was love, all parties involved could have taken measures to preserve both the relationship and career. A job at another institution? The student quitting the team?

It might also be suggested by some that regardless of WHEN the relationship started, it became professionally unacceptable when Chatman became a coach. And, this is not uncommon. In many professions, when one reaches a certain level, personal relationships with those under your authority are not acceptable.

Quite frankly, this is a joke. If Chatman didn't believe she was wrong, she should have never resigned; regardless of "pressure". Obviously, at the time of her resignation, she knew there was something wrong.

Now, it looks like she is running back with her hand out.

Anonymous said...

Another "victim",simply shameful.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"Another "victim",simply shameful."

Sir, agreed.

When will the carnage end?

CoachRene said...

"Now, it looks like she is running back with her hand out."

Perhaps she was disappointed in the labor market. She may have thought a certain position which recently became available up North was tailor-made to her coaching style.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"Perhaps she was disappointed in the labor market. "

Sir, or perhaps she found out that LSU isn't the only institution which values the teacher/student relationship.

MCBias said...

"You can't con somebody into something and then hold them to the agreement," Pierson later told ESPN.com.

Ahem, Pierson. I'm sure that's how the young lady who wanted to keep her scholarship felt after Pokey came on to her. Sadly, the lady had no lawyer.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"I'm sure that's how the young lady who wanted to keep her scholarship felt after Pokey came on to her."

Sir, you are jumping to conclusions. How do we know the young lady didn't come on to an innocent and naive Pokey?

Her name is Pokey! What is more a more innocent and naive name for a lezbot than THAT?????