Jan 11, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT
Isn’t it fun being a Texas Tech football fan these days? (“Serenity now!”). As the Mike Leach debacle grinds its way to court, the PR sorceress who helped Leach’s accuser, Craig James, sink the former coach is now speaking out. Mary Spaeth, head of Spaeth Communications and the PR arm for the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry in 2004, told Sports by Brooks late Sunday that her organization indeed worked with the James family in connection wit the Leach allegations. And, she said, James contacted her before he went public about Leach.
James’ son, Adam, was the player at the center of misconduct charges leveled against Leach, leading to the coach’s dismissal. Craig James is a football analyst for ESPN.
Spaeth told me that she was initially contacted by Craig James before he went public with his complaints about Leach after a third party recommended the firm to the ESPN announcer.
“I’m pretty sure his first call was on Dec. 19. He reached out to us,” Spaeth said.
Spaeth said that James wanted her company to, “help (James family) with the first burst of attention.”
“Our first role with them was to think through what to say publicly. We advised him on the drafting of the family’s first statement that was distributed to reporters,” Spaeth said.
Spaeth, however, did not mention whose idea it was to release the infamous electrical shed cell phone video, which Adam James shot of himself in the shed where he was banished by Texas Tech coaches. There is actually another video; the second showing Leach cursing out James in practice. But Spaeth said she hasn’t seen the second one.
She claimed James’ recent proclamation that he intended to explore the possibility of political career was, “news to me,” adding, “we’d be the last people to represent James. We’re already representing Michael Williams (for the possible Senate seat).”
Spaeth was co-Chair of Williams’ most recent re-election campaign for the Texas Railroad Commission in 2008.
As for the future, Spaeth said she was still advising the James family but that “it’s been quiet for the past five to six days.” Spaeth said, “I don’t know where the litigation is going,” and that she wasn’t working on anything specific for James at the moment.
Wow, does anyone, like me, think that there is a lot more to this story? It’s hard to picture Craig James enlisting a big gun like Spaeth Communications just to help draft the family’s initial statement. You don’t hire Mary Spaeth to help you decide what color tie to wear for TV. You hire her for big-picture stuff.
Meanwhile, a Facebook group called Team Leach, whose stated mission is to “search for the truth (behind Leach’s firing) and pursue that goal through positive means and in a professional manner,” has grown to more than 60,000 members. This story isn’t going away soon.
James Hired Swift Boat Firm Before Going Public [SportsbyBrooks]
Team Leach [Facebook]
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