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Fired UT sports columnist Tim Sullivan has told his side of the story to a publication called The Sherman Report. First, and perhaps foremost, Sullivan mentions a column he wrote in 2006, in which he said current UT CEO John Lynch, then head of XX Sports Radio had "all the subtlety of a sledgehammer" in trying to get a Chargers stadium. Sullivan noted in that 2006 column that Lynch was threatening to spend "whatever it takes" to remove Mike Aguirre, then city attorney, and a roadblock to a Chargers subsidy. Sullivan tells Sherman Report that the paper has a responsibility to protect the public from a bad deal, while Lynch wants to "bulldoze the opposition." (Lynch, upon taking over his post at the UT, made that clear.)

When Lynch moved into his post, Sullivan went to editor Jeff Light, showed him the 2006 column, and told him that Lynch's statements about how any reporter covering the stadium matter should be in favor of it, and label an opponent as an obstructionist, hurt the paper's credibility. (In my own judgment, every intelligent person in town agreed with Sullivan on that observation.) Sullivan also told Sherman that Lynch was telling people that he (Sullivan) was not on board with the paper's new technological direction. Sullivan says that notion "is preposterous," and gives cogent reasons.

Recently, he sent a note to Light about the paper's future, but Light never responded. Last Wednesday, Sullivan was told to report to Light at 3 p.m. "By 3:02, I had been fired," he tells Sherman. Sullivan thinks his firing results from four factors: 1. Failure to endorse a new stadium without ruminating on good public policy; 2. His comparatively healthy salary; 3. Demographics: the two other sports columnists (Canepa and Acee) are white males, and Acee is marked as a star; 4. "The erroneous issue of whether I was 'on board.'"

Oh, yes. Sullivan says, " I do not believe I am a martyr for truth -- as Don Bauder has suggested on the San Diego Reader website -- but I do think I have been mistreated." There I disagree with Sullivan: I think his own statement to Sherman indicates that he was not only martyr to truth, but a martyr to intelligent civil discourse, and a martyr for opposing egregious oafishness. (Thanks to Matt Potter for sending along the Sherman item.)

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Comments

nan shartel June 4, 2012 @ 6:04 p.m.

martyr or no...i hope he takes it to the State Labor Board 4 unfair firing without any notice

is that even possible anymore Don or am i living in a "fairplay" dream world...hahahahahahaha

None

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tomjohnston June 4, 2012 @ 6:30 p.m.

California is a right to work state, Nan. Unless they made false accusations as a reason for his termination, then it's kosher. There are a few exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions. There is no such thing as fair play in the work place. If your employer wants you gone, all they have to do is open the door, tell you to get out and hand you your final pay as you leave.

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Don Bauder June 4, 2012 @ 7:28 p.m.

Obviously, an employer can cook up a number of phony reasons -- say, you told an off-color joke to a female -- and justify canning you. Employers do it all the time. But there are, as you say, some ways to protest an unfair firing through state government. And you can file a suit for unjustifiable termination. Those are hard to win, too. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston June 4, 2012 @ 9:01 p.m.

With the exception of discrimination or retaliation, in Ca. an employer to terminate employment for any reason with no notice. They don't need to make up a reason. Unless the employee has an actual or implied contract with the employer which allows for termination only for cause or other specified reasons, the employer may fire an employee as long as the reasons are not illegal. There is no recourse for "unfair" firing thru state government when the employer has broken no laws.You can file a wrongful termination claim, but the burden of proof is on the employee to prove that the employer violated the law. I have no idea what you mean by "unjustifiable termination", but unless you have proof of discrimination or retaliation, or of some other law being broken, the case probably never goes to court.

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Don Bauder June 4, 2012 @ 11:01 p.m.

What I meant was wrongful termination. Blame it on age (76). Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel June 5, 2012 @ 1:15 a.m.

i won one from UCI years ago......but i wasn't sure it was still possible

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Don Bauder June 5, 2012 @ 5:43 a.m.

Difficult to win, but still being filed. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 4, 2012 @ 7:24 p.m.

Even in this tough job market, he may land another position before he has to take his case to the government. Best, Don Bauder

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gekko June 4, 2012 @ 8:51 p.m.

I saw Tim Sullivan's response in the previous story. Since Tim is reading this blog I want him to know that I always considered him the best writer on the sport staff. His style was similar to Tom Cushman's. The worst sportswriter in UT history was Barry Lorge. When I worked at the UT, it was almost impossible to get fired because the Copley regime was afraid of lawsuits. Under the current management, the employees will probably vote to re-certify the union. Manchester and Lynch will have forced this on themselves.

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Don Bauder June 4, 2012 @ 10:58 p.m.

Again, I am not sure the guild would be helpful in curbing the public hangings. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 5, 2012 @ 8:41 a.m.

I have to admit that I never read his columns, and that I don't read those of the others in the sports section. I knew Canepa forty years ago when he was starting out. For the most part, I find those columnists to be in the category of never meeting an athlete or team or coach they really didn't like. There was always plenty of grist for their mills in the minutiae of the games, coaching moves, etc., etc. And so they drew male readers to buy the paper (even when many of them looked at no other part of the paper) and ingratiated themselves with the local sports fanatics.

But what I am seeing with this remade rag is sickening. For two days now, they put their election endorsements on the front page. The reasons they give for the recommendations are wildly inconsistent and many are illogical. Does Dougie really think that voters will be swayed by those endorsements? Many people who subscribe to the paper do that out of habit, and not because they really LIKE it at all. Of those, many if not most do not trust the editorial board or the ownership to look out for the best interests of the local area. Now that nothing seems sacred in Mission Valley as far as how to run a newspaper, we can look forward to even more bizarre remakes of the operation.

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Don Bauder June 5, 2012 @ 10:35 a.m.

What made Sullivan such a good sports columnist was that he did not adulate athletes or owners, and he realized that pro sports is not about the game; it is about money.

As to the new UT: it will be interesting to see if voters are influenced -- or turned off -- by the UT's endorsements, front page or not. I know it will be difficult to tell the effect, but if DeMaio does more poorly than expected, this could be a sign that the public is wise to the propaganda mill disguised as a news

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HellcatCopley June 6, 2012 @ 10:06 a.m.

I doubt the UT has any influence at all on the election. Its circulation and market share keep dwindling. Its regular readers, such as they are, probably follow the same mindset as the menses producing the paper.

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Don Bauder June 6, 2012 @ 11:56 a.m.

I was with the UT for 30 years (financial editor and columnist, finally senior columnist) and even back in those days I wondered whether the paper had much effect on elections. I think it used to influence elections in which the public didn't know the candidates -- judges, for example. If it had such influence, it would be reduced now, I suspect. Best, Don Bauder

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