Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl have put their heads together and made an ass of themselves yet again. The Goofus and Goofus of right-wing outrage added to their overstuffed portfolio of unnecessary and unwanted press conferences with a soft-hitting expose on corruption in the college recruiting realm.
“Make no mistake, these are serious crimes,” said Burkman, a D.C. lobbyist with the requisite ability to smile sincerely while advancing even the most heinous cause, before the presentation held at his million-dollar townhouse located in the Virginia suburbs.
“This is going to be the first time this has ever come out,” Wohl added.
They’d been spreading word about the event for the last several days, with blasted emails promising the release of information about what was “shaping up to be one of the largest scandals in NCAA history.” Only two reporters, present company included, took the bait.
Alas, nothing close to new or newsworthy came out of Tuesday’s presser. After what Wohl called a “five-week” investigation, he and his partner in grime decided that Adidas is the baddest actor and has to be dealt with.
“What Adidas has is, at the localized level, a network of thugs, in most cases current and former gang members, who they use to go and menace families and coerce them into [doing] whatever Adidas want them to do,” claimed Wohl.
Their star witness, who appeared via Skype after the hosts dramatically pulled off a curtain that was covering a large monitor, was Lewis Neal, identified as a “former Dallas Cowboy,” which is technically true: Neal, who played defensive tackle at LSU, spent one season (2017) in the Cowboys organization bouncing from the practice squad to the active squad.
Neal rambled for several minutes about the dirtiness of college football and basketball recruiting, where parents of players are offered jobs, cars, and cash from shoe-company money men, and where kids are told not to use cellphones while negotiating the transactions, so as to avoid leaving easily uncovered evidence behind.
“This is a bombshell!” Wohl gushed inappropriately after the phone tidbit. “This is the first I’ve heard of this!”
Wohl, trying to pump up Neal’s nothingness, asked him “what percentage of top recruits” are offered funny money by shoe companies nowadays. Neal, the expert, couldn’t even work up a guess. Neal was then asked how much he was offered and by whom when he was recruited out of high school in North Carolina. He perked up momentarily, saying that folks from the University of Tennessee (not a shoe company) had proposed paying him to come play for the Vols. But he wouldn’t say who or how much, other than: “It was nothing crazy.”
The only good thing to come out of this presser, really, was that it meant that for at least one afternoon the dastardly duo wasn’t tormenting gays or families of murder victims, or leveling false rape accusations.
On their last attention-seeking outing together, you might remember, Burkman and Wohl promised to drop what they’d billed as bombshells about special prosecutor Robert Mueller having a history of sexual assault. They claimed they had five women who’d tell their tales of being raped by the former FBI head and announced a press conference promising that one of the alleged victims would tell her tale in person. “We’re going to prove that he is a drunk and a sexual abuser,” Burkman told The Daily Beast. Instead, Burkman and Wohl just further proved they’re bozos. The advertised main source never showed up. The only attendee of note at the debacle was, according to a Newsweek report, “a giant inflatable rat wearing a wig that resembled President Donald Trump’s hair.”
Burkman had still another disastrous media event last July, when he promised to unveil a secret source who’d prove that Seth Rich was murdered by either the Obama administration OR Democratic Party officials. The real surprise came when Burkman couldn’t figure out how to get his alleged Deep Throat on the speaker phone.
(Burkman later had a falling out with one of the investigators he hired during the Rich boondoggle, an ex-Marine named Kevin Doherty, who shot him in the buttocks. “I still have two bullets in me!” Burkman said during a break in Tuesday’s Adidas bashfest.)
Wohl, slimy beyond his 21 years, went the solo route while recently trying to drum up interest in his claim that Kamala Harris isn’t legally American enough to be president.
Burkman’s worst days as a carnival barker and human being came after Missouri linebacker Michael Sam came out as gay before the 2014 NFL Draft. Burkman went on a media blitz proposing that Congress act fast to make being a gay player illegal.
“We are losing our decency as a nation,” Burkman said at the time, according to a report from thehill.com. “Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
Burkman had claimed he had “36 members in the house” and six U.S. senators ready to co-sponsor a bill he’d author to ban gays. The D.C. reporter challenged Burkman to name even one such legislator. He refused.
Nike, the shoe and apparel industry’s top banana, is allegedly above the shady deeds ascribed to its top competitor, at least in the wildish narrative Burkman and Wohl tried outlining, because of its market penetration. “Kids don’t want to wear Adidas,” Wohl said. “Kids don’t want to wear Under Armour. Nike doesn’t necessarily have to pay.”
Burkman and Wohl, with a track record as demented Trump defenders, spent as much time attacking Nike’s recent antagonist and noted demented Trump-basher Michael Avenatti as they did babbling about Adidas’s alleged corruption. They reveled in Avenatti getting pranked into, as Wohl said, “slandering the reputations of Zion Williamson, Duke, Coach K [and] Zion Williamson’s mother,” as reported in genuine bombshell fashion by Deadspin’s Patrick Redford.
The bad media onslaught Nike endured after Williamson hurt his knee because of a defective Swoosh-logo’d shoe is what inspired their own “investigation” into where shoe money goes in college sports, Wohl said. They did name one AAU organizer in the Southwest as a funneler of Adidas money to players, and working with gang members when necessary to seal recruiting deals, but there wasn’t a sniff of compelling evidence to back up the charge. It’s as if that’s a pattern with these two!
Wohl and Burkman wrapped up the latest circus by saying they were heading straight to Capitol Hill to take their shoe corruption evidence to federal lawmakers, and that the Government Affairs Committee was the “likeliest” body to call for hearings to publicly punish Adidas for its recruiting wrongs. Yeah, right.