Murdock offered Rutgers $950K settlement
by Jerry Carino, USA TODAY Sports
The revelation that Eric Murdock sought a $950,000 settlement from Rutgers in December shed new light on the dispute between ousted men’s basketball coach Mike Rice and the former staffer whose video montage led to his downfall.
A Dec. 27 letter sent by Murdock’s lawyers to Rutgers, obtained on Thursday by New Jersey Press Media, outlines Murdock’s claim that he was wrongfully terminated as Rice’s director of player development and makes reference to a “damning video” presented in-person on Nov. 26.
It concludes: “We are willing to give your clients until the close of business day Friday, January 4, 2013 to address final resolution of this matter. Otherwise, we have already prepared a Complaint and will file a suit without further notice. To resolve these claims for damages inclusive of attorney fees and costs, Mr. Murdock is willing to accept $950,000.00.”
No resolution was reached. When Murdock’s video montage showing Rice’s conduct aired on ESPN’s Outside the Lines Tuesday, it touched off a national firestorm that resulted in Rice’s firing and threatens the employment status of athletics director Tim Pernetti.
Murdock’s portrayal as a whistleblower by Outside the Lines elicited widespread praise for the Bridgewater resident and former NBA point guard by members of the national media. But news of the settlement talks, coupled with an ESPN.com report that an FBI special agent was on campus Thursday “questioning individuals about Murdock,” could shift public opinion.
Raj Gadhok, Murdock attorney, said any attempt to paint Murdock as trying to cash in on the scandal is misguided.
“There’s no extortion. It’s not where we gave it to them and said, ‘Hey, give us this or we’re doing this or that,’ ” Gadhok said Thursday evening. “Frankly, it was a response to their request for a settlement demand. There’s nothing atypical about it. It’s a settlement discussion to resolve the case.”
Gadhok also expressed surprise at the level of attention the scandal has gotten. It has been the country’s dominant story for three days.
“We expected this to be a public story. We expected it would get some press,” Gadhok said. “To say I expected it would get this much … [For more on Eric Murdock's lawyer offered Rutgers $950,000 settlement, click here.]