'Buffaloed' Book Arrives

Bruce Plasket's book, "Buffaloed: How Race, Gender and Media Bias Fueled a Season of Scandal," is finally headed to the bookstore and online shelves. The book details a season of scandal surrounding the CU football team and, according to Plasket, "tells the story of political agendas, race and a mean-spirited campaign to ruin the reputations of an entire football program, its players and its coaches."

Plasket, you'll recall, went against the tide of most of the local and national media that covered the so-called scandal at Colorado last year. Plasket, a career journalist in Colorado, was working as the Denver courts reporter for the (Longmont) Daily Times-Call at the time. When he heard CU football coach Gary Barnett challenge reporters on a radio show to dig deeper into the story that alleged CU hired strippers or worse for recruits, Plasket was intrigued. He spent 11 days digging and was surprised what he found.

By and large, the Denver media had taken the bait from a public relations firm working for the plaintiffs in their suit against the university. Plasket detailed the dubious relationship between a few high-profile media members, who were driving the months-long story that smeared the university and its football program, and the PR firm, in a story in the Times-Call titled "PR Blitz Rocks CU."

Knowing he had committed career suicide in the Denver/Boulder/Longmont media market by exposing what was going on behind the headlines, Plasket came off the courts beat and spent the fall of 2004 with an all-access pass to the CU football team, and wrote a weekly series about what he saw.

Earlier this year, Plasket got married, moved to New Mexico and wrote "Buffaloed," a 225-page book that chronicles the scandal that wasn't and looks at many of the people who fueled it, as well as how members of Colorado football program survived and thrived during the 2004 season.

So how does the book differ from what Plasket had published in the Times-Call?

"This has all the stuff your (newspaper) bosses won't let you write," Plasket says. "It has all the information that if newspapers had any backbone, they would've written."

The book was picked up by Prentice-Hall publishers and set for release over the summer. But after a lengthy letter of warning from Baine Kerr, counsel for the plaintiffs in the suit against CU — the suit that was thrown out of court by a Denver judge in March for lack of merit — Prentice-Hall backed out of publishing the book. Plasket was set to release it through a self-publishing outfit, AuthorHouse, but the second firm got cold feet, as well. Then Plasket's agent, IMG, fired him.

The book had passed two libel reads by Prentice-Hall's libel team. Plasket contends the publishers weren't afraid of losing a lawsuit, but didn't think getting into a lawsuit was worth the hassle.

Plasket says the book isn't really about Baine Kerr or his clients.

"I've got bad news for his ego. It's not about him," Plasket says. "It's about how special interests were able to take an inept, lazy, biased media and ride them like a cheap horse.

"I'm 52-years old. I have never seen, in my entire life, any story receive half treatment like this one did."

Eventually, the fiery writer, along with help from his wife, decided to go it alone.

While the book promises to be an exposé of what Plasket calls lazy journalism fueled by political correctness, it's also an unvarnished look in the locker room and on the sidelines of the Colorado football team. Plasket said he gained great admiration for those in the CU football team, particularly the players, who endured public scrutiny and scorn during the ordeal.

Where the book may differ from behind-the-scenes sports books is in Plasket's effort to ensure it's an uncensored look. There's an outraged Lawrence Vickers speaking his mind after CU's loss at Texas A&M, Bobby Purify challenging the offensive linemen during the halftime of the Texas game and John Guydon questioning his teammates' decision to jump on the logo prior to the Buffs' game at Washington State.

Former Buff Ron Monteilh graces the cover of the book. Monteilh was the student-athlete charged for distributing alcohol to minors, stemming from a December 2001 off-campus party. Monteilh, it was later determined, wasn't even at the party.

No one at CU has read advance copies of the book. Gary Barnett said last week he planned on not reading it for the simple fact he's got too much on his plate in the middle of football season, and being able to say "I haven't read it" will save him precious time when reporters ask him about the book.

But make no mistake, except perhaps for CU regent Cindy Carlisle — who is Kerr's wife — many CU officials, and most in the Colorado athletic department wouldn't mind if "Buffaloed" made a splash locally and nationally.

While the book is being distributed to bookstores along the front range, you can buy it online at: www.buffaloedbook.com

It can also be ordered via phone: 1-866-995-BOOK (2665).

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