Video: Barry Cohen demands apology from ex-USF coach Jim Leavitt
Joel Miller, the walk-on USF football player at the center of the Jim Leavitt controversy told reporters today: "I covered it up."
Miller's attorney, Barry Cohen, then asked the fired USF football coach to "man up" and demanded a public apology.
Cohen said Miller did not want to sue Leavitt but left open his options if Leavitt does not admit his wrongdoing to USF president Judy Genshaft. Without an apology from Leavitt, Cohen said the coach could face not only a civil lawsuit but criminal charges, mentioning assault and battery. He asked whether the players and coaches that took his defense would be as likely to do so under oath and facing the threat of perjury charges.
[JACK ROWLAND | Times]
"It's time to stand up now, coach, and do the right thing," Cohen said, "because if you don't Steve Romine (Cohen's partner) and I might not know much about football, but we know a lot about hardball."
"Go look in the mirror and see a coward who wouldn't man up, which is what he told Joel to do since he was 12 years old."
Leavitt, however, is sticking to his story and has no intention of apologizing.
"Of course not," said his attorney, Wil Florin. "Why would he apologize for something he didn't do?"
Miller, dressed in a black suit, said that he and his father lied to the media, then to university investigators -- "I covered it up," he admitted -- because he wanted to protect his coach and assistant coaches and the team as it prepared for its bowl game.
"I'm here to tell you the truth about what really happened," Miller said. "He grabbed me by the neck and he hit me twice."
A university investigation, which interviewed 20 players and nine other people in the locker room, found that Leavitt grabbed Miller by the throat and slapped him twice in the face, a "serious violation" of the school's conduct policies. The investigation also found Leavitt lied to investigators and interefered with the investigation, also violations that led to his firing "with cause" after 14 years as the Bulls' coach.