On Friday, Minnesota AD Norwood Teague abruptly resigned after he was accused of sexual harassment. His text exchanges made public by the University showed some of his behaviors that led to the move.
Last night, Amelia Rayno, a reporter with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, joined in and gave a first-hand account of her own interactions with Teague and how it impacted her personally, and the ability to do her job.
Rayno, the Star-Tribune’s college basketball writer covering the Minnesota Golden Gophers, described an incident on December 13, 2013, where he had asked her to join him for a drink. She says that she had previously had drinks in a group setting with Teague on 5 to 7 occasions, and that this was a key part of getting to know a potential source as part of her job.
"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?” 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.’’"
While the initial resignation was couched in terms of Teague going into alcohol rehab, and the exchange described above (and those in the texts that were at the center of his resignation) happened while drinking, Teague also used his power as AD beyond just meeting for drinks. Rayno described how he made her uncomfortable thereafter as part of trying to do her job, saying things like “you owe me” and when she told him she wouldn’t be covering the Final Four in person, he texted “I have other options to get u there in style.’’
She took her issues to Human Resources in April 2014 (crediting ESPN’s Dana O’Neil as a resource who gave her advice), and they went through several options. Those included the company contacting Teague on her behalf, going to Teague’s superiors, and her changing her “beat.”
She opted to distance herself from him and wait to see if the behavior continued. That she would feel pressure to do that, rather than speak out against a powerful figure that could impact her job prospects, shows just how damaging sexual harassment can be, for women working in the sports industry.