Late Sunday night, Amelia Rayno, the Gopher Basketball beat writer for the Star Tribune revealed in an article to be published in Monday's Star Tribune that she was also sexually harassed by former Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague on several occasions. Amelia's article is here....please go read it. In the article she gives multiple details of several incidents with Teague. However, according to Rayno, the first time it occurred was December 13, 2013.
There was a going-away party for a university communications director who had resigned. As the Star Tribune’s University of Minnesota’s basketball writer, I attended, as did Teague, whom I had covered since his arrival in April 2012. I spoke with him in passing and eventually left. As I was walking out, Teague texted me and asked if I wanted to get a drink. Cultivating sources is a critical part of a reporter’s job. Sometimes that crosses into social gatherings. Having a drink with a source is not at all unusual, and I didn’t feel being a woman compromised me because I was there solely for work purposes......
After he arrived, and before Dec. 13, 2013, he and I had drinks five to seven times, all but one of those occasions in a group setting. I also attended several cocktail parties at his house. I was happy to have such a useful window into the program. We talked about basketball, coaches and his plans for the department. So I agreed to have that drink. But this December night was different. Teague asked me about my longtime boyfriend, as he often did. My mistake was acknowledging that we had just broken up. The switch flipped. Suddenly, in a public and crowded bar, Teague tried to throw his arm around me. He poked my side. He pinched my hip. He grabbed at me. Stunned and mortified, I swatted his advances and firmly told him to stop. He didn’t. "Don’t deny," he said, "our chemistry." I told him that he was drastically off base, that my only intention in being there was as a reporter – to which he replied: "You’re all strictly business? Nothing else?" I walked out. He followed me. I hailed a cab. He followed me in, grabbing at my arm and scooting closer and closer in the dark back cabin until I was pressed against the door. I told him to stop. I told him it was not OK. He laughed. When I reached my apartment, I vomited. Later that night he texted: "Night strictly bitness.’’
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That is absolutely deplorable, and sounds very similar to the stories the two University of Minnesota employees had that resulted in Teague "resigning" this past Friday. If this was the only incident, it would be awful and disgusting. But Rayno continues to tell more stories of additional incidents.
The incident wasn’t the first with Teague. When he first arrived at the university we would communicate via texts, mostly about athletics. But over time the tone of the messages slowly changed, particularly at night. He would pepper work talk with comments that at first felt weird and eventually unacceptable. Once, he called me "cute." Another night, after I declined meeting for a drink, he asked me if I was wearing pajamas. I brought my concerns to a work colleague, who suggested I downplay the remarks and keep things light. But in the aftermath of Dec. 13, it got worse. When I had to call Teague for a quote, he would often afterward say, "You owe me." He suggested I travel with the Gophers summer caravan to "get more scoops." He once asked if I was going to Dallas for the Final Four. When I replied that our newspaper was not covering it because of budget issues, he texted: "I have other options to get u there in style.’’ And when I declined to meet him if he suggested a drink he would text things like "R u pouting?" and "The colonel is coming after you."
Now that makes the story even worse. This is absolutely horrific conduct by any person, much less one in a leadership position at a major public university. But it gets even worse. As Rayno recaps, as she started to ignore Teague's inappropriate advances, Teague began to treat her differently then any other reporter covering a team at the university.
I avoided him as much as possible. Losing meaningful access to an athletic director isn’t a situation a college reporter wants to find herself in, but to me it was the best of all the bad options. He noticed the change. "Ur no fun anymore," he texted. "U seem obtuse." "Ur radio silent." "U think I’m gross." "Ur giving me a complex." "U hate me, I’m toxic."
The only unfortunate thing that Rayno did is not taking Teague's abuse publicly sooner. As she details in her article, she went to her bosses at the Star Tribune who helped her devise an action plan that could have ended up with her editors reported Teague's conduct to his superiors at the University. Unfortunately for all involved she did not do so. However, and I mean this with all sincerity, Rayno CAN NOT be blamed for not doing so, especially in a world were we still see women journalists claims not always being taken as truthful, and with no other evidence other than her mistreatment to take to the University. She now realizes herself that she wishes she had come forward at the time.
But as I reread his texts to me and the ones that were released Friday, I regret not doing more initially, especially now that I know Teague continued to harass women. At the time, I was still fairly green on my first real beat and, frankly, unprepared for something like this. I wasn’t bold enough in my reaction. Had all of this developed now, I might have handled it differently. That’s why, in light of the brave women who did step up, I decided to put my name behind my story in hopes that it will never happen again. Friday’s accounts from the two nameless women harassed by Teague were a lot of things. They were vulgar. They were troubling. They were gross. One thing they were not is something new. For me, it was more of the same, all over again.
Even after the events of the last few days, it still takes a ton of courage to come forward with the evidence of the mistreatment you have borne as what now appears to be a serial sexual harasser who has a serious problem both while and without drinking. Amelia should be given nothing for praise for explaining in detail how she was dealing what can only be described nothing but cruel and disheartening treatment from a major administrator who she has to deal with on a very regular basis. She has done her job with noting but class, and she shows the strength and character she has in the linked article above. Again, please read it, and lets all do our best to ensure that should this situation ever arise again that no female journalist should have to keep this kind of treatment quiet to enure they do not fear retribution.
As for Norwood Teague...if there was anyone even remotely on his side after this weekend's events, if should be plainly obvious that he needed to go, and unfortunately should have been gone a long time ago. There is no reason why any woman should have to put up with this kind of conduct, much less ones who rely on the abuser to fully do their job. Unfortunately, it is most likely that this will not be the last story about Teague's misconduct that comes out in the next few weeks. I only wish the University of Minnesota had known sooner so that we could have gotten rid of this sad sad man sooner. So much for #HailTeague....its now very obvious that the real hashtag should have been #FailTeague.