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Boatright letter has detractors

Jadon Boatright, who wrote a letter of grievances against UNM coach Bob Davie, makes a tackle in 2016. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Here is Rick Wright’s analysis of Jadon Boatright’s letter.

Player 11 has gone public.

So, as well, have former University of New Mexico teammates who disagree with Jadon Boatright’s characterization of UNM football coach Bob Davie and describe experiences within Davie’s program that drastically differ from those Boatright has recounted.

It seems accurate to conclude that Boatright, who played defensive back for the Lobos from 2013-14 and again in 2016, played a key role in the chain of events that led to Davie’s 30-day suspension without pay.

Boatright wrote a letter to then UNM interim President Chaouki Abdallah, dated Aug. 9, listing his grievances against the coach. In a Feb. 6 letter to Davie, notifying him of the suspension, Abdallah cited an email he had received on Aug. 9 as the impetus for an investigation into Davie’s conduct.

And, yet, none of the specific complaints and allegations made by Boatright against Davie in his letter was cited as a reason for the suspension. In his Feb. 6 letter, Abdallah cited:

Davie’s alleged failure to report to the UNM Office of Equal Opportunity an allegation of sexual assault lodged against one of his players.

Alleged use of “racially charged language” with players on certain occasions.

Alleged failure to comply with the NCAA’s Principle 2.2, which calls for coaches to establish and maintain an environment that values cultural diversity and gender equity; to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for student-athletes; and to establish an environment that fosters a positive relationship between the student-athlete and coach.

In an appeal filed on Feb. 9 by Michael Kennedy, Davie’s lawyer, Kennedy noted that investigation reports by the OEO and by the Chicago law firm Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose found no violations by Davie of UNM policy. Kennedy also contended Davie did not interfere with a rape investigation and was not out of compliance with the NCAA’s Principle 2.2.

The UNM Board of Regents voted not to consider Davie’s appeal.

Clearly, Boatright and Davie did not have a positive relationship, and investigations into Davie’s conduct make it clear Boatright is not alone in that regard.

Yet, other current and former teammates have a strikingly different take. One of those, redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Teton Saltes, calls Davie “a really good coach, who truly cares about his players.”

In a Feb. 28 Facebook post, Saltes labels Boatright a divisive figure within the program who was “simply bitter towards Davie because of the discipline he received from the coaching staff.”

On Feb. 28, the website nmfishbowl.com published a lengthy interview with Boatright, who had left the UNM program in early August 2017. Attached was the far longer letter Boatright had written on Aug. 9 and submitted to Abdallah and then-acting athletic director Janice Ruggiero. In the letter, which Boatright made public for the first time on the website, he aired his personal complaints against Davie, called the coach’s treatment of players in general “highly unsuitable” and described the atmosphere in and around the program as toxic.

“There are so many others who want to speak up, but are afraid to,” he wrote. “… The kids here truly are not happy and I am voicing this out for all of us.”

In Abdallah’s Feb. 6 letter to Davie, Abdallah stated it was an email he received on Aug. 9 that prompted him to hire retired federal Judge Bruce Black to look into the allegations.

Black’s findings prompted Abdallah to hire the Hogan Marren law firm to look further.

Jake Rothschiller (28), making a tackle for New Mexico against Colorado State in 2016, defends coach Bob Davie against “(t)hose with an agenda, hurt feelings or plain dark hearts.” (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

An investigation into Davie’s conduct by the OEO, prompted by remarks made by former UNM football players in May 2017 exit interviews, already was under way.

On Feb. 17, Davie began serving his suspension. He is scheduled to return to work on Monday.

On March 1, via social media, Boatright agreed to an interview with the Journal. He chose to conduct the interview via email, and two days later the Journal emailed him a list of questions.

The Journal also emailed him copies of emails written by former UNM safety Jake Rothschiller and former offensive lineman Garrett Adcock and the Facebook post written by Saltes, painting a far different picture of Davie and relating far different experiences in his program.

As of this writing, Boatright has responded to the Journal only regarding the comments from his former teammates and has not addressed the other questions the Journal submitted. The questions were resubmitted with some additions on Wednesday but again drew no response.

Of the three, only Saltes’ Facebook post was written after Boatright made public his letter. Only Saltes, who was a teammate of Boatright’s in 2016, mentioned him by name.

“Contrary to what (Boatright’s letter and the nmfishbowl article) says, Boatright does not speak for the majority of the team,” Saltes wrote. “… Boatright had a major attitude and ego problem on the team, and the coaches and players got tired of it.

“… Boatright had serious issues and not many people on the team liked him; he was very disrespectful to the coaches and fellow teammates around him.”

On March 3, responding on social media to the Journal regarding Saltes’ Facebook post, Boatright wrote, “His post seems completely biased and is his own opinion. Not sure what more to say about that.”

On Feb. 12, Rothschiller sent an email to Abdallah, UNM OEO director Francie Cordova, UNM football operations director Brian DeSpain and the Journal.

Without mentioning Boatright by name, Rothschiller wrote:

“Coach Davie, the staff and the program have been under a dark cloud for much of the last 8 months. Those with an agenda, hurt feelings or plain dark hearts have falsely accused our mentors for reasons only they know.

“… Coach Davie and his staff have mentored us through difficult times in our growth; from teenagers to young men. They took on roles as our surrogate parents, praising us when proper and correcting us when necessary. There is no doubt in my mind, and shouldn’t be in yours, that their mentorship has better prepared us for the world after graduation. Their role in developing who we are becomes clearer as we continue to mature.”

On Feb. 16, Adcock, a UNM graduate student and a student Regent, emailed a statement to the Journal.

“While at UNM, I was a four-year starter on the offensive line, a first team academic all-American, a UNM nominee for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, and a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy,” Adcock wrote. “I will graduate in May with my J.D. (law degree) from UNM. Coach Davie was my biggest supporter in all of these endeavors, even if they interfered with my time on the field.

“… Coach Davie always had my emotional well-being at heart.”

Adcock went on to say that Davie helped him make the difficult decision to walk away from football after suffering a series of concussions.

In response, Boatright acknowledged that Adcock and Rothschiller’s experiences with Davie and in UNM football were far different than his and that he does not speak for them.

“Adcock and Jake are both two people who Davie has done a ton for and has supported both of them throughout their tenure here. … However, Adcock’s letter doesn’t address anything that I am talking about and Jake would never talk down on Davie after everything he has done for him.

“Jake is a great person but I don’t think he relates to anything that is going on and his letter is irrelevant.”

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