I don’t know what Gloria Allred does, exactly. I know she’s nominally an attorney because it says so on her Wikipedia page and also under her head when her head appears on my television screen. It says, “Attorney.” But, despite three years of law school, I have no idea what service she provides her clients. It’s always some weirdo at the periphery of a scandal she’s representing. A woman who bedded Tiger Woods, for instance. Or it’s a minor scandal that in years past would have been relegated to the Odd Stories column in your local newspaper. Like the time Roger McDowell got his gay slur on in front of some baseball fans. What connects these things is their apparent distance from anything resembling a legal issue.

Gloria Allred holds press conferences, as far as I can tell. And she talks sternly and forcefully, admonishing those bad actors who did her clients wrong. And after the microphones are turned off and the cameramen have all fled… well, I don’t know what it is she does. You can do anything with a law degree!

Which brings me to the latest in the Manti Te’o saga. The man behind Lennay has lawyered up, which thankfully allows me to write about Manti’s man in this here column.

Let’s talk Scandal Law. Scaw, Landal…

JUST TWO DUDES ON THE PHONE, BEING DUDES

Yesterday, news broke that the man alleged to have been behind (nope, did not go there) the Manti Te’o hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, had engaged in hours of phone conversations with Te’o. All the while, pretending to be a girl named Lennay. This story, which had previously been rejected years ago by Saved by the Bell writers as “too fantastical,” was fed to the press by Tuiasosopo’s attorney, a man named Milton Grimes. Grimey explained his client’s actions thusly:

Tuiasosopo, 22, has had dramatic training, plays in a Christian band and even auditioned last year for the television show “The Voice.”

“Come on, Hollywood does it all the time,” Grimes said of his client pretending to be a woman. “People can do that.”

Couric asked Te’o what he would say to Tuiasosopo.

“I would just say you hurt me,” Te’o said.

Grimes said that Tuiasosopo wasn’t trying to hurt Te’o.

“This wasn’t a prank to make fun,” Grimes said, according to the Daily News. “It was establishing a communication with someone. … It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship.”

I feel the need to repeat the claim, made in the ESPN story that these quotes come from, that Grimey is Tuiasosopo’s attorney. Because, quite frankly, it’s unclear from Grimey’s behavior that he has any interest in helping Tuiasosopo.

His client, he of the “troubled existence,” tricked a 21 year old man into believing he was a woman. I’m not sure what the importance of the distinction between a prank and a communication intended to create a relationship is, but I hope for Tuiasosopo’s sake that there is one. Because the alternative is that his attorney, McGruff the Grime Dog, is simply talking out of school.

As for Manti, I have a certain measure of sympathy. I was completely tricked by the movie The Crying Game and I’ll never forgive my sister for taking me to it and not disclosing the secret plot twist to come. Of course, unlike Manti, I was maybe 14 years old at the time. Which, again, I’m not sure why my sister took me to see The Crying Game when I was 14. I don’t want to turn this column into one extended whine about my sister, but just what in the f**k was she thinking? Sarah, if you’re out there, feel free to drop into the comments section and explain yourself. That was wildly inappropriate fare for a 14 year old. Wildly inappropriate.

THE NCAA IS A BASTION OF CORRUPTION, HYPOCRISY, AND POSSIBLY BESTIALITY ALTHOUGH I’M NOT SURE ABOUT THAT LAST ONE

The NCAA showed its ass this week, bungling a fairly cut-and-dry investigation into the Miami athletic department when it was revealed that the organization had contracted with an attorney for the man at the center of the Miami scandal in order to get information the organization should not have had access to in the first place. I attended one session of my law school ethics class and I’m also a moron, but this is so clearly a brazenly unethical act on the part of the NCAA that I wonder whether the institution can survive.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic. Maybe I only wish the NCAA vanishes like a fart in the wind due to this misstep. But still, it’s a fairly remarkable ethical lapse to contract with an attorney at the heart of an investigation. Christ, I had to fill out a conflict form every time I mindlessly reviewed irrelevant garbage documents as a contract attorney. And that job could barely be described as a legal one.

Instead of saying anything more on the vile NCAA, I thought I’d turn it over to attorney and Duke Law grad, Jay Bilas, who tweeted several gems regarding this sh*tshow yesterday:

And not to be outdone, the attorney whose conflicted role in all of this borders on absurd had this to say late yesterday:

“I did nothing wrong and I was playing by the f—— rules and I am not bound by NCAA rules, and if they did something wrong, it is their problem and they are trying to make it my problem. This is not my problem,” she told the Sun Sentinel.

Perez then questioned the NCAA’s motives.

“I don’t know what it’s all about and I find this very suspicious,” she said. “And I’m starting to believe they want (to) intentionally botch this investigation for reasons I can only imagine are monetary.”

No one likes the NCAA except the NCAA’s mom. And I couldn’t be happier.

RAP SHEET ROLL CALL

* Former NFL cornerback Fred Smoot was arrested for DUI last month, when cops noted his “watery” eyes. This allows me to type my favorite word of all time: rheumy. “How is the backseat of this Cadillac?” “Surprisingly rheumy.” I… I don’t know. Oh, also, Smoot peed his pants.

* Meanwhile, current NFL nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested for drunk driving on Tuesday. No word on whether his eyes were full of rheum.

* And finally, Bengals offensive lineman Andre Smith was arrested for bringing a gun to an airport. I don’t have a joke here, but I don’t need one when I have this picture of Andre Smith.

Manti Te’o was talking to man [ESPN]
N.C.A.A. Admits Mishandling Miami Inquiry [New York Times]
Lawyer questions NCAA’s motives [ESPN]


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