Gender discrimination accusations against Teague resulted in payouts

Norwood Teague
Norwood Teague

Strib reporter Amelia Rayno’s story of being prey for former U of M athletic director Norwood Teague’s boorish behavior played far and wide. Now her Strib colleague Brandon Stahl follows with a story about two settlements involving gender discrimination accusations: “Two complaints accusing former University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague of gender discrimination against co-workers resulted in $300,000 in settlements dating back to 2012, records obtained by the Star Tribune show. The complaints were filed by employees at the University of Minnesota and at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Teague worked before being recruited by the U. … The chair of the [U of M’s] Board of Regents, Dean Johnson, said Monday he never had any reason to suspect that Teague mistreated women. In the wake of the revelations about the complaints made against Teague, Johnson said the school should work to better identify how to prevent such incidents from occurring.”

Dave DeLand in the St. Cloud Times writes, “There are prominent people at the University of Minnesota who would like you to believe the Norwood Teague scandal is nothing more than that — simply a case of a tipsy athletic director who had one too many and started sending lascivious emails to female employees. … the bartender and the booze aren’t the issue. This is about something larger than having too many drinks. It’s about a system run amok. It’s about a sense of entitlement and invincibility. It’s about an organization placing athletics and its financial interests ahead of everything else, including the mission of the institution and the safety of its employees from inappropriate contact.”

Dan Levy at a site called AwfulAnnouncing.com (“The Worldwide Leader in Sports Media Blogs, Although That’s Debatable”) says, “There is a line every reporter has to cross sometimes in an effort to cultivate a source. In the world of college athletics, having the occasional drink with a coach or director of athletics is maybe the equivalent putting one toe over that line; it’s not terribly appropriate for any journalist to socialize with those they cover, but the nature of the job, and the access many higher ups in college athletics are willing to give to those who do, makes the occurrence commonplace around the country.”

WCCO-TV’s Angela Davis asks aloud what someone is supposed to do in such a case. “It got people asking what they should do if a co-worker or boss makes unwanted sexual advances. ‘I would say the most important first step anybody who endures this kind of treatment could do is to report it to a manager,’ said Michael Healey, a lawyer who specializes in employment. He says it’s important to know which manager in your workplace is responsible for handling harassment complaints, and to spend time documenting what happened. ‘Create a paper trail,’ Healey said. ‘Email your manager to say, hey, this happened to me. John touched me in the kitchen, or whatever it might have been.’ At the University of Minnesota, the women who made accusations against Teague provided text messages from him to support their claims.”

Rayno’s colleague Chip Scoggins writes, “Did the school consider the possibility that this wasn’t an isolated incident, that there might be more victims of his harassment? If not, the university took an incredibly naïve approach in addressing the problem. In cases like this, we often learn that the perpetrator engaged in a pattern of such behavior. That should be the crux of the U’s investigation. Officials need to find out who knew what. They need to comb through Teague’s e-mails, text messages and cellphone photos to see if they can find a pattern. They need to interview every member of his management team and all the cronies he brought with him from Virginia Commonwealth University to Minnesota and comb through their e-mails, texts and photos, too.”

At SBNation.com, the thinking goes: “There is a human tendency to move ourselves past uncomfortable moments faster than we should. I have no doubt that this happened at the University too. Human nature doesn’t stop at the edge of an academic campus. Let me be clear. I’m not implying there was a cover-up or a scandal. If the reports the U received two weeks ago were the first officially reported accounts then when it comes to those instances then the U did things the right way. That is a gut feeling, not one based on a reading of official University policies. Amelia Rayno’s experiences confirm a pattern and suggest that the pattern is likely worse than what has been reported. If Teague sexually harassed a member of the press, I have no doubt he sexually harassed other women beyond the victims we already know about. I believe many at the U will have come to the same conclusion.”

None of our soon-to-be-Super Bowl Minnesota Vikings are currently under arrest for offenses, sexual or otherwise. But that doesn’t stop Minnesota native and invariably entertaining Drew Magary at Deadspin.com from his annual team-by-team takedown. “As I do every year, I must disclose in this preview that the Vikings are my favorite team, which means they are also my LEAST favorite team. This [bleeping] team. To think that I’ve wasted YEARS of my life cheering on these goddamn losers. They don’t even have a cool uniform color. I’m [bleeping] embarrassed. … As always, this is what Minnesotans deserve. It is the Soccer Mom state. Minnesota is one giant Toyota Sequoia with happy stick figures on the back windshield, cutting you off at every highway merge. People there only vote Democrat to appear sensitive and open-minded, despite having hearts blacker than Scrooge himself. If you are from Iowa, you are treated like an undocumented immigrant if you walk into Minnesota. This state in a frozen, undead wasteland, and yet people there regard the rest of the world with complete and utter disdain. It’s never made sense to me, and it never will. It is a hateful place, full of Stepford wives and mute husbands. You’ll find more personality in a crate of pickled fish.” I’m not sure, but Mr. Magary might have been over-served prior to that column.

I don’t know that this explanation is any more reassuring. The AP reports, “Health officials say lab tests have determined that a Minnesota teenager did not die from a water parasite as initially suspected, but instead from a bacterial disease. Fourteen-year-old Hunter Boutain, of Alexandria, died of a brain infection July 9. He became ill after swimming in Lake Minnewaska in western Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health initially suspected his infection was the result of the Naegleria (nigh-GLEER’-ee-uh) fowleri amoeba. But the department said Monday that tests by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined Hunter died from a streptococcal bacterial infection of the brain instead.”

Stable enough for another huntin’ season? Says John Myers in the Duluth News Tribune, “Minnesota’s wolf population remains generally stable, although wolves are having to roam farther to find their favorite food, the Department of Natural Resources reported Monday. The DNR said the 2015 survey showed an estimated 2,221 wolves in 374 packs across the northern half of the state. That’s down about 8 percent from the 2014 estimate but close enough to call stable, the agency noted.”

Classy. The Forum News Service has a story saying, “One of the rescuers who responded to a crash that killed two brothers near Fergus Falls in June has been charged with taking money from a victim’s wallet, according to the state Department of Public Safety. Tara Kimberly Lindquist, 42, a member of the Dalton Fire and Rescue Squad, has been charged in Otter Tail County District Court with one misdemeanor count of theft. … Lindquist admitted to investigators that she took $120 from a wallet at the scene of the fatal crash, court records state.”

Thank god for Canuckistan. In the Strib, Kristin Leigh Painter says, “Rest assured, Minnesota diners, you can still order walleye — blackened, fried or grilled. The Lake Mille Lacs walleye crisis has created a whirl of anxiety for resort owners, anglers and politicians. It has not, and will not, affect area restaurants and grocery stores that sell the fish. The reason: Nearly all of the state’s commercial walleye supply comes from Canada.”

For god’s sake, wait until all the data is in! Also in the Strib, Christopher Snowbeck writes, “Allina Health System wants to deep-six its deep-fat fryers and eliminate sugary soft drinks, too. The hospital operator announced the goals internally Friday, saying Allina wants to change vending machines and cafeterias in ways that will promote and maintain health in communities. … The McDonald’s at Allina’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital in south Minneapolis, however, is expected to stay.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Dianne Arnold on 08/11/2015 - 11:07 am.

    Kaler needs to take off the rose-colored glasses

    Now that we have information on payouts due to Teague’s past behavior, President Kaler’s statements from last week sound even more disingenuous. The “tone at the top” is critical to making changes in culture and Kaler and Dean Johnson don’t seem to understand that. Simply making mealy-mouthed statements changes nothing. Sounds like business as usual at the U.

  2. Submitted by jason myron on 08/11/2015 - 02:37 pm.

    Given these revelations..

    I’m struggling to comprehend how Teague made the short list for this position, much less actually land the gig.

  3. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 08/11/2015 - 02:52 pm.

    Teague

    While I respect Amelia’s decision to not bring allegations forward, I also think the Star Tribune should have acted on her behalf and also on the behalf of other women who may have been victimized. Her choice should have been to bring it forward herself or they would do it for her. I understand she felt her career was on the line but she made the choice to change her career anyway by not communicating with Teague after the harassment and also leaving the Gophers BBall beat. It was understandable that she would do that but to then say she didn’t bring the allegations forward did her nor any other women any benefit because her career was already changed by her own hand. Also by not bringing the allegations forward she and the Star Tribune make it look like that sort of thing is tolerable for them and other women when really they should have put a stop to it right away. She lessened the severity of this type of thing and makes it look like it should be tolerated for all women by not bringing it forward.

  4. Submitted by Tom Lynch on 08/11/2015 - 07:19 pm.

    She still covers

    University of MN men’s basketball. No career change.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 08/12/2015 - 11:37 am.

      basketball

      I had read that she left that beat to cover the Twins I believe. Either way it was a disservice to women everywhere to not have brought the allegations to light. It makes it look like that behavior should be tolerated when it should not be at all. Bringing those types of allegations to light would put a stop to them rather than allowing them to be tolerated/perpetuated.

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