Last Friday, more than 500 people showed up at an abandoned Kmart on Dixie Highway, forking over $20 donations in support of embattled football coach Jason Stinson. There was an auction of donated items, and the take was more than $35,000. I’m told it was an enthusiastic and supportive crowd.
There was no media coverage, though it would have been quite a spectacle for the evening news.
The next day, the local paper ran a story that accused Stinson supporters of attempting to intimidate or retaliate against students whose testimony might be damaging to the coach. The suggestion that this was going on was first made during a deposition of JCPS superintendant Sheldon Berman. Todd Thompson, who represents Max Gilpin’s parents in their lawsuit against PRP coaches and administrators, asked Berman if he was aware that threats were being made against players.
Thompson, then, is the only source in the story who is on the record saying that retaliation has gone on. Berman didn’t know about it, and the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office spokesman, Steve Tedder, told the C-J that he had heard it was going on, without saying where he’d heard it. From Thompson maybe?
And the paper claims that unnamed parents have been calling and making the same retaliation accusations that Thompson first brought up in Berman’s deposition.
We’ve talked with several people close to the situation in Pleasure Ridge Park who are doubtful about the existence of the retaliation threats mentioned in the newspaper article. They believe it’s a media ploy by Thompson. We hear that parents aren’t interested in talking with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office about the retaliation threats, that they’re not answering phone calls.
One interested parent of a player (who also would not go on the record) said he knows all of the players’ parents who live in PRP, and says none would call the newspaper if the retaliation threats were going on.
If there have been threats, it’s time that Thompson, or the C-J, or the Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ office, fess up and identify the source.