This one's kind of involved, so let's follow the bouncing Bulldog:
• On New Year's Eve, Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis was involved in a fight at a Tupelo bar and charged disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
• The next day, local papers got wind and called the Lee County Sheriff's Office to ask if Bumphis was in jail, and for any details on the incident.
• Sergeant Rodricus Hurst spoke to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, who wrote the following paragraph in their story:
Sgt. Rodricus Hurst said Bumphis, a former Tupelo High School standout, was involved in a "big group fight" at the Atlanta Bar & Grill in downtown Tupelo, and several other people were arrested. Hurst said Bumphis got hit in the neck by a glass bottle and suffered a cut, but that he did not injure anybody.
Hurst says the quote was not precise, but wasn't factually incorrect. And anyway, the sheriff's office doesn't have a policy about talking to the media. But later that month, Hurst was fired by the sheriff because, Hurst claims, the sheriff didn't want any bad press for his beloved Bulldogs.
"The decision to fire plaintiff was based on the content of his speech to the newspaper. The sheriff has no policy against releasing routine information about arrests to the press. The sheriff is a fan of Mississippi State University and was angry because information which was released might embarrass Mississippi State University. The sheriff has no policy against identifying arrestees to the press. The sheriff fired plaintiff because the arrestee identified was a Mississippi State football player."
Oh, you noticed the word "plaintiff?" Yeah, Hurst is suing Lee County. So things go.
They Take Football Seriously in Mississippi [Courthouse News Service]