Let's Go to the Tape

The strained voice of Tom Culpepper betrayed any sense of calm or self-control, offering a window into the mindset of the recruiting analyst who thought Ronnie Cottrell and Logan Young caused him to be fired.

Attorneys for the former Alabama assistants, Ronnie Cottrell and Ivy Williams, held a news conference in the offices Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker Tuesday afternoon to distribute the audio and to share their side's vision of what the tape means in the $60 million lawsuit against Culpepper and the NCAA.

Mike Rediker, who presented arguments to support Team Cottrell's defamation claims in a pre-trial motion for summary judgement hearing last week, thinks the tapes are a key in demonstrating malice against his clients.

"The tape is a major part of that," Rediker said. "(The NCAA) dealt with this man repeatedly over a period of months if not years. (They) used him as a major source, not only directly, but he by his own admission put the NCAA on to other witnesses.

"So, what happens is they are using a man they know has a hate motivation."

The level of malice which must be shown to prove a defamation charge depends largely on whether the plaintiffs are public or private figures, a matter in dispute in this case.

Rediker thinks that even if his clients are deemed public figures by the judge - which requires the higher level of malice be shown - that the tape of a conversation Culpepper and Tider Insider's Rodney Orr.

"It's a jury question. if there was one quote attributed to me it should be 'it's a question for the jury,'" Rediker said.

Rediker also used the occassion to expand on the oral arguments he made before the court in his motion for summary judgment that Culpepper planted lies about his clients in the media.

Rediker pointed to the affidavit of John Longshore, who hosts a radio show in Montgomery, saying that he heard rumors about Cottrell and Williams from Culpepper, and passed them along on his show.

Rediker also alluded to the affidavits of Bruce Parris, Forrest Davis, Charles Branch and Terry Harrington, who all made similar reference to Culpepper spreading rumors about Cottrell and Williams.

"Those are just four examples of people who swore in affidavits as to conversations they had with Culpepper where the rumors that Culpepper was initiating or passing on were spread," Rediker said.

"We believe the court will be reading this."

The most damning documents released seem to implicate the Southeastern Conference and Roy Kramer more in the alleged scheme to set up Alabama than the NCAA. Rediker said there is more to come in implicating the NCAA, however.

"Like any good lawyers we hold back, until the proper moment, our best shots. You haven't seen all our shots and you can quote me," he said.

Rediker said NCAA attorney Robert Rutherford is "doing what any good - and he is good - what a very good defense lawyer would do" in deflecting chargers away from the NCAA.

"I think the response to that is the NCAA didn't have any grounds for an investigation to start with, and look what they ended up using... They dredge up an old event (Cottrell's secondary violations) and pretend now that it is something worthy," Rediker said.

He also reiterated Team Cottrell's charge of improper acts by the NCAA.

"Why did Yaeger say 'You're staring down the barrell of a gun?'"

"Why would he make such a statement. That's outrageous for a deliberative body. You can quote me. That's outrageous for a deliberative body. This is not an impartial investigation. It was not. You can quote me on that, too."

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