More details of Mike Leach’s lawsuit against Texas Tech were released earlier this week, including allegations that ESPN announcer Craig James twice called Texas Tech position coaches in an attempt to influence how the staff was handling his son, team inside receiver Adam James.
(Do Leach’s lawyers have actual voicemail recordings from James?)
Leach’s lawsuit maintains that Craig James called Tech Director of Football Operations Tommy McVay in September, “to tell him, in effect, that you coaches are crazy and you’re screwing my kid.”
Leach’s lawsuit also alleges that James called then-Tech assistant coach Lincoln Riley the same day about his son, “stating, in effect, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing. Adam James is the best player at the wide receiver position. If you’ve got the balls to call me back, and I don’t think you do, call me back.’”
I’m not going to speculate what impact those alleged phone calls could have on the Leach lawsuit against Texas Tech. But if Leach’s lawyers can materially prove that James indeed did say those things in phone calls to Texas Tech football coaches, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that ESPN executives would be concerned about James broadcasting games for the network in the future.
Leach attorneys Ted Liggett and Paul Dobrowski have not yet indicated if they have recordings of those phone calls from James. However in another area of the lawsuit, Dobrowski confirmed that he had a copy of a voicemail left by Tech attorney Charlotte Bingham.
From Matthew Mcgowan and Adam Zuvanich of the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL:
Bingham left a voicemail with one of Leach’s assistants advising him, “to the effect, ‘This thing is heating up. There are outside forces affecting this situation that I cannot control.’ “
Dobrowski said he has a copy of the voicemail, but did not explain the “to the effect” clause in the court documents.
I have an email into Dobrowski asking him if he also has copies of the two voicemails James allegedly left to the Tech assistant coaches.
If audio of those alleged calls is produced, things could get ugly for James as it pertains to his broadcasting career with ESPN or any other network. For an ESPN broadcaster to call coaches in the sport that he covers and express himself in that manner shows a serious lack of judgement. Especially in the context of James’ subsequent formal complaint to Tech administrators against Leach, which was a major factor in the coach’s ouster.
As for a possible run for political office for James, he has confirmed that he is interested in exploring his prospects. But it is way too early to know if the U.S. Senate seat in Texas he’s reportedly interested in will even be open in the near future.
I did contact ESPN about James’ future with the network. ESPN media relations vice president Josh Krulewitz said, “It’s much too early to even address it. The season just ended.”
If Leach’s lawyers have no voicemail recordings of alleged calls from Craig James and no other material evidence of James showing a serious lack of judgement with the coaching staff or school administration, the former SMU star is probably in the clear professionally.
When asked about how the Leach lawsuit may affect him on Thursday, James told the DALLAS MORNING NEWS that any damage done to him personally would be “inconsequential.”
If the two voicemails that James allegedly left for Tech football coaches were not saved and cannot be recovered, I would agree.