“The lawsuit is coming,” Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia said on their on their show “The Sports Bar.”
Well, the lawsuit is here, and has been since Aug. 29.
Dan Kyle, former assistant coach of UR Football, is suing UR spokeswoman Sara Miller and the University for defamation. The charge comes after Miller’s statement to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” regarding the evidence that proved Kyle had signed for the bail of former star linebacker Isaiah Smith. This was a key narrative in their investigative story about the 22 Harvest Street kidnapping.
Miller had said that “no member of the administration, nor any coaches or University Athletic members” requested for Kyle to sign the bail. According to the suit, however, this was far from the truth.
According to the suit, Kyle and his colleague, defensive coordinator Jacob Lees, drove together to the Monroe County Hall of Justice to meet Smith’s teammates and friends Daniel Bronson and Kenyon “KJ” Burnham.
Kyle was told that the two players had raised $1,500 of the money for the bond — of $15,000 total — and “needed an adult over the age of 21 to sign.” Due to parking difficulty at the courthouse, the suit said that Lees instructed for Kyle to get out of the car and sign Smith’s bail.
Once Kyle signed for the bond, he was thanked on the phone by Greene, said the suit, and the two discussed hiring a criminal defense attorney to assist with Smith’s situation.
According to an in an interview last September with JC DeLass on his segment “Coaches Corner” on the 13 WHAM show “College Sports Beat,” the trust of Greene’s coaching staff and their responsibility to the team’s players are his core values.
“It’s about trust. I know the guys that I hire here I want to be able to trust them. I have to trust them,” Greene said. “I try to make sure I guide them the right way too. But I know they do a great job taking care of our players and making sure they are doing the right thing.”
While it is debatable whether Greene’s staff had monitored their players appropriately, the head coach announced on Oct.10 that the 2017 fall season would be his last.
We aren’t sure whether Greene’s reason for early retirement is because of the repercussions following the Harvest Street kidnapping and this lawsuit, or because of UR Football’s current record (2–5) and its trajectory. It’s multifactorial, and rightfully so.
But what’s apparent is after this season, the team should receive a clean slate. Coach Lees, who according to Kyle was heavily involved in the bail ordeal, should move on from his duties at the University. Additionally, after this season, seniors Bronson and Burnham will have their eyes set for graduation, closing the book on their football careers at UR.
But this lawsuit raises a new set of questions. The numbers presented yield confusion; even if the two seniors did not raise money for this bond — which according to Bronson’s comment to Outside the Lines, “is absolutely not true” — where did the rest of this $15,000 come from?
Throughout this entire situation — beginning with the original kidnapping — Athletic Director George Vanderzwaag has remained mum. While Miller’s statement didn’t say University Athletics Staff “asked” for the bail to be signed, her statement also didn’t reveal whether staff such as Vanderzwaag knew about such activity or took any action.
What measures has or hasn’t the director taken? How can UR Athletics prevent anything of this nature from happening again? Was Greene’s early retirement an agreement rather than solely his decision?
The only public words from Vanderzwaag surfaced two weeks ago once Greene had announced he wouldn’t return next fall.
“We are deeply grateful to Scott for the 12 years that he has led our football program,” he said. “He cares deeply about his players, and has earned their respect and support.”
This may be true, but Greene and the remnants of his staff from 2015 are responsible for an incident that has resulted in burdensome attention for the University.
If this lawsuit brings anything to light, it’s the oversight of the University across multiple departments. Shoving details under the rug and hiding more skeletons in the closet clearly bring about inconsistencies in what is fact and what is fiction.
But if we’ve learned anything about the Harvest Street chronicle, it’s that with any answer comes a surplus of questions.
“Everybody Talks” is a radio show on WRUR’s the Sting that highlights women’s involvement in sports and the social issues that surround athletics. You can listen to it every Friday from 1–2 p.m. on thesting.wrur.org.