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Sports

Star Tribune Reporter: Minnesota AD Harassed Me, Too

A reporter covering the University of Minnesota details her own story of harassment from AD Norwood Teague.
August 10, 2015, 2:55pm

Minnesota AD Norwood Teague hastily resigned on Friday in part for getting drunk and sending "inappropriate texts" to two university employees. Shortly after we learned just how inappropriate the texts were: very. Teague transitioned from clumsy flirtation, to weird cloning requests, to straight up filth, all the while the recipient responded with things like "no" and "stop." Over the weekend, Amelia Rayno of the Star Tribune wrote a column detailing her own interactions with Teague and they are just as disgusting. In announcing his resignation, Teague mentioned a University event where he had "entirely too much to drink" as the cause of his behavior. After Rayno's account, the "sorry, I was drunk" gambit becomes even less credible.

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Rayno says she attended a going away party for a University communications director as part of her duties as reporter for the Star Tribune. Teague was also present at the party, and as she was leaving, he approached her and asked if she wanted to have a drink. Rayno goes to great pains to establish that she was acting professionally—fostering a relationship with the straight-shooting and quotable Teague would be good for any reporter—which is itself a commentary on just how fucked up men in power can be and just how hard it is to be a woman in a male-dominated field. There should be no need to explain yourself for accepting an invitation to speak with the Athletic Director of a major college that you have been assigned to cover. Because what happened next is (or should be) inconceivable and wholly inappropriate.

From Rayno's piece:

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?"

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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.''

Wholly inappropriate. It's hard to pinpoint what is worse, the clearly unwanted invasion of personal space, or the total lack of humiliation and shame when every single one of those advances are rebuked. Instead, Rayno is the one left puking. Teague was relentless, though, and badgered her more via text. When Teague learned Rayno would not be going to the Final Four because of budget issues at the paper, he texted her "I have other options to get u there in style." It finally reached a point where Rayno went to her superiors who quickly devised several options to handle the situation.

Rayno, however, was concerned about the fallout if this became a story. She did not want her career railroaded by this story—she might have been taken off her beat, or sports entirely, and did not want to disrupt her career.

I was also concerned about how it would look were the information to get leaked. I carefully considered the editorializing and victim-shaming that goes on in such circumstances, and I wasn't sure I wanted to go through that.

So Rayno kept a lid on the issue and simply stopped all interactions with Teague. They've barely spoken in the past year and he has not texted her since August 2014. Rayno is only now coming forward out of guilt for letting Teague continue his behavior after reading the initial story. Comments have been disabled on Rayno's Star Tribune post, but had they not been, you would surely see her concerns validated.