SUN IN­VES­TI­GATES Video does ex­ist of fa­tal prac­tice

Univer­sity of Mary­land says it won’t re­lease footage of day McNair fell ill

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - — Talia Rich­man

Some­where — per­haps on a com­puter in Col­lege Park — is sur­veil­lance footage of Univer­sity of Mary­land foot­ball player Jor­dan McNair’s fi­nal prac­tice.

But the univer­sity isn’t shar­ing it. Me­dia out­lets haven’t been al­lowed to see it. Nei­ther has the law firm that’s been rep­re­sent­ing McNair’s fam­ily since the 19-year-old of­fen­sive line­man died of heat­stroke fol­low­ing an out­door prac­tice in Col­lege Park.

Mur­phy, Fal­con & Mur­phy re­ceived a let­ter from the univer­sity’s Of­fice of Gen­eral Coun­sel this week deny­ing the firm’s re­quest un­der the Mary­land Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Act for “any and all video record­ings” from sur­veil­lance cam­eras near the area where foot­ball prac­tice was held on May 29, the day McNair fell ill.

As­so­ciate Gen­eral Coun­sel Laura An­der­son Wright wrote in a let­ter that the univer­sity de­nied the re­quest “pend­ing the com­ple­tion of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing con­ducted by the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral,” she wrote.

Once it is cleared by the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice, a univer­sity spokes­woman said, the school plans to re­lease the video to McNair’s fam­ily.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice is rep­re­sent­ing the state flag­ship and the univer­sity sys­tem on all le­gal claims re­lated to McNair’s death. A spokesper­son for the of­fice said they won’t con­firm or deny the ex­is­tence of any in­ves­ti­ga­tions or com­ment­ing on on­go­ing lit­i­ga­tion.

At­tor­ney Billy Mur­phy called the de­ci­sion “bo­gus,” and ques­tioned whether the video was with­held be­cause it con­tra­dicts the univer­sity’s orig­i­nal ver­sion of events.

“There’s no way giv­ing us a copy of that tape will change what’s on it or im­pede their in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he said. “It must hurt them or they would’ve re­leased it to the pub­lic long ago.”

The univer­sity also de­nied The Bal­ti­more Sun’s re­quest for the footage.

One per­son who has seen the tapes is Dr. Rod Wal­ters, the in­de­pen­dent sports medicine con­sul­tant hired to eval­u­ate the univer­sity’s pro­ce­dures re­lated to McNair’s death.

Wal­ters is­sued a re­port Sept. 21 that found univer­sity ath­let­ics staff did not fol­low proper pro­to­cols in treat­ing McNair for heat­stroke.

Dur­ing the news con­fer­ence where he pre­sented his find­ings, Wal­ters said he used sur­veil­lance footage to help piece to­gether a time­line.

He said he couldn’t see the en­tire prac­tice, and the videos didn’t en­able him to an­a­lyze McNair’s con­di­tion on the field.

“You couldn’t make out a lot of de­tail,” he said.

But the tapes did help Wal­ters craft the most com­plete time­line to date of what hap­pened dur­ing McNair’s last prac­tice.

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