How much are those Mike Rice coaching abuse videos worth? If you’re ex-New Jersey Net/former Rutgers director of player development/current whistleblower Eric Murdock (and his lawyer), you’ll start the bidding at $950,000. That’s how much they allegedly asked Rutger’s University to pay them to keep the videos locked in the vault from Raiders of the Lost Ark. When the school declined to pay the ransom, Murdock went forward and handed the tapes over to ESPN’s Outside The Lines. The perfect crime. Or, well, not, because once authorities started sniffing around, Murdock looked like the angry scorned lover who was up to no good. Motive? Check!
Ya see, last year Murdock made a stink about Rutgers not renewing his contract. He’s subsquently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, on the grounds that the school let him walk because he knew too much about the whole Mike-Rice-is-a-lunatic-thing. And he did. And thats probably true (it’s still being litigated.) But after the school went ahead and acknowledged the abuses — and suspended Rice with a silly three game, $50k slap on the wrist — Murdock saw his opportunity to cash in, potentially. ESPN, (being the preferred whistle of blowers in this case,) is literally a part of the story. The paper trail weaves through them like a shoelace through a Nike that’s halfway up a player’s ass. ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy:
On Dec. 27, Barry A. Kozyra, Murdock’s attorney, sent a two-page letter, obtained by ESPN, to John K. Bennett, who is representing Rutgers University, seeking $950,000. Murdock’s annual salary at Rutgers was $70,000. The letter was dated two weeks after Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was suspended three games without pay and fined $50,000 for a violation of athletic department policy, which Rutgers announced on Dec. 13.
So, let me get this straight. This Murdock character, in an unsubstantiated act of vengeance cloaked in valiance, cried wolf after the wolf decided not to give him a million dollars? Whoa — this is getting deep. The letter in question was also posted. Ya know, because ESPN is like Santa Claus: they see everything and know when you’ve been bad or good or, in Eric Murdock’s case, a unclear combination of the two.
The letter states: “While we believe that the recent suspension and fine of Mr. Rice and his enrollment in anger management and future monitoring of his conduct (as we suggested) was a small step in the right direction, it is unfathomable to think that Mr. Rice’s employment with the University continues while Mr. Murdock remains unemployed for simply having done the right thing. …
“We are willing to give your clients until the close of business on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, to address final resolution of this matter. Otherwise, we have already prepared a Complaint and will file suit without further notice. To resolve claims for damages inclusive of attorney fees and costs, Mr. Murdock is willing to accept $950,000.00.”
And while Murdock’s lawyers are calling the possible evidence of an extortion plot “a settlement letter,” FBI Agents are scouring the school’s campus in Piscatawy for more whistleblowers to blow whistles at the other whistleblowers. Point is there are a lot of whistles in Piscataway, NJ. Dude, this is literally turning into an episode of the Sopranos. Check back for updates as they develop.
Photos Via Getty, Story Via ESPN