Response to Nov. 14 New York Times article

Dear Friends,

The university administration wants to convey to you its profound disappointment in a New York Times article posted Nov. 14 suggesting a cover-up in connection with an Oct. 5 car accident that involved FSU football players. The evidence simply does not support the implications in the Times article.

The accident was worked by the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD). FSU police responded to a routine request from TPD but did not participate in the accident investigation, make any arrests or advise any of the student-athletes involved.

FSU officials worked for several weeks to provide the New York Times reporter with all of the data and information he sought. Facts were gathered and interviews conducted by the university in response to his questions, and information was provided to him in good faith to meet his deadlines. There was no “shifting story” from FSU. When new information came to light, the university promptly clarified the record for the reporter.

We want to assure you that, as FSU Police Chief David Perry made clear to the reporter, the department’s officers acted entirely appropriately and followed department procedures. We are disturbed that a newspaper with a distinguished reputation would print such a speculative story. Four experienced law enforcement officers were on site and none saw any indication of the driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The implication that anyone involved in the accident had anything to do with a burglary is totally unsupported and offensive. Finally, there is no indication of any special treatment of the student-athletes by the officers involved.

We will continue to monitor media coverage of this incident and respond appropriately, but we want you to know the university worked very hard to provide accurate information to the reporter and is disturbed by the result. When read carefully, it is clear the story contains no evidence to support any of the writer’s implications.


President John Thrasher