Florida Gators' Go-To Lawyer Has Some Issues Of His Own

The Orlando Sentinel, still tub-thumping about those miscreant Gators, has profiled attorney Huntley Johnson, who often handles the players' legal run-ins. What the paper doesn't mention: Johnson once suggested that his secretary "get down" on his "hog" and "honk it."

The Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler writes:

Huntley Johnson isn't on the University of Florida's payroll. He's not on the UF football program's payroll, either. But the Gainesville-based attorney might just be the Gators' most valuable player other than Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow.

Johnson is the go-to Gator for UF football players who find trouble with the law. He has handled 23 of the 24 football-related legal cases the Orlando Sentinel documented during Meyer's four years as Florida's head coach. The 24th case happened in Daytona Beach.

The arrests have Florida facing public scrutiny this summer as newspaper columnists, Internet bloggers and fans debate whether the UF football team is out of control.

(An aside about the sheer absurdity and disingenuousness of that last sentence. Go back and look at the Sentinel's "database," which breaks down Gator arrests since 2005. I count nine cases that rise above garden-variety youthful delinquency. Three of those were tossed. One involved a guy sneaking into an impound to retrieve his girlfriend's towed car, which is downright noble. Nine cases since 2005, if you're counting generously. This a team "out of control"?)

The story is a fairly standard bit of newspaper-style innuendo — surely there must be an NCAA violation somewhere under here, Fowler is saying, without really saying it. The profile makes no mention, however, of the lawsuit brought in 2000 by Johnson's secretary, Pamela Thigpen, in which she accused her boss of foul language, sexual innuendo and physical assault. Thigpen won a judgment of more than $1 million in a civil trial, and the verdict was upheld on appeal. Some of the juicy bits from the appellate court panel's opinion in 2001 (PDF):

• "For example, Johnson repeatedly told Thigpen: she just wanted to 'get down on his hog and honk it'; 'you want me to put my hog in your mouth'; '[c]ome in here and give me some head.' He also told her, at least once, to give his client a 'mercy fuck.'"

• "Johnson also dictated to Thigpen while urinating in the bathroom in his office and left a nude picture of himself for Thigpen to find in his office."

• "There was also evidence of inappropriate, unwelcomed physical contact, including repeated touching of Thigpen's breasts, running a pencil up Thigpen's thigh and an incident in which Johnson made sexually threatening remarks to Thigpen and forcibly placed her hand onto the crotch of his trousers."

The Sentinel doesn't see fit to mention any of this, which is odd considering its pained efforts at depicting Florida as some sort of football-playing House of the Rising Sun. The paper does at least hold out some hope that the program will return to the path of righteousness. And, hey, guess what? It has something to do with Tim Tebow. Jesus. Get off the dude's hog.

UF athletes have a friend in attorney Huntley Johnson [Orlando Sentinel]
Will Tim Tebow help prevent future arrests? [Orlando Sentinel]
Huntley Johnson v. Pamela Thigpen (PDF) [FindLaw]
EARLIER: A Lesson In How Not To Spin, Courtesy Of The Florida Gators