Legal Ramifications From Chaney’s Actions Could Be In Store For Ingram

By Gregory Moore
Updated: March 3, 2005

Nehemiah Ingram isn’t a brute. So why did John Chaney send him into that game?

SAN ANTONIO — It might be hard to fathom such a scenario but if St. Joseph’s John Bryant and his family decide to sue Temple’s Nehemiah Ingram AND John Chaney for the unfortunate accident of Bryant breaking his arm during last Tuesday’s game, Ingram may actually have due recourse in possibly being compensated by his own school for the actions of his coach.

Sounds goofy or unimaginable? Believe me I thought so too but then a friend of mine brought that scenario to my attention while during his weekend sports talk show this past Saturday. Chet Coppock’s scenario left me speechless because I had not thought of it. We are talking about an unfortunate incident that happened during a basketball game. What could possibly be legal recourse for Ingram at that juncture?

Well after some thought on the matter the only recourse I could come up with is the fact that Ingram was following the orders of a crazed lunatic. Now the legal community may have to help me with this scenario because I can only see a lawsuit being filed against Chaney and Temple University if Ingram is being held civilly or criminally responsible for the actual incident.

“Greg, Ingram isn’t a thug,” Coppock told me during his show. “The kid is up for a Rhodes scholarship.” I looked up the qualifications for getting such a prestigious scholarship and one of the main criteria was in the form of leadership qualities and capabilities. As a matter of fact, I looked at the application itself and in the section where the school must fill out about what the potential scholar has done at the institution, it lists that moral character and leadership skills are very much prevalent in the selection process.

So what would happen if the Bryant family brought a civil case against Nehemiah Ingram? Would he be awarded the prestigious scholarship even though he is being sued? And if he was not awarded the scholarship based upon the actions he took part in two weeks ago, could he actually sue Chaney and the school for defaming his character?

Now some may say I am just piling on a situation that has already been handled. I disagree. I think that this is a lesson that needs to be learned and even though the behavior is reprehensible and the coach has taken it upon himself to suspend himself from coaching for the rest of Temple’s season, the fact remains that he instructed a player to go in and commit bodily harm. Ingram may not have deliberately set out to break Bryant’s arm but his rough house play during the game was very much a part of the eventual outcome.

I have suggested that maybe Chaney needs to resign from coaching because he has had one too many outbursts. Remember eleven years ago he wanted to do bodily harm to then Massachusetts head coach John Calipari after a loss. The same fire and brimstone that he showed then is very much alive today. Now whether he resigns or not is totally up to him. Maybe he will reflect upon the events of the past few days and come to a decision that is best for all concerned.

Yet in the meantime ponder the scenario that I have given you, the reader. If the Bryants do indeed file a civil case and they include Nehemiah Ingram as a defendant, he could lose a great opportunity. If that is the case, wouldn’t Ingram have legal recourse too? It’s just a thought.

PORTLAND ACTUALLY DID CHEEKS A FAVOR While it is never a good day to see a head coach be fired, I think in this instance a celebration may be in order for Maurice Cheeks as the Portland Trailblazers did the humane thing and fired him. For three and a half seasons Cheeks has had to work under some arduous circumstances and not a single issue was of his own doing. Paul Allen, the billionaire owner of the Trailblazers, allowed this franchise to take on a parasitic state by not having the gumption to remove players who did not fit a certain mold. He allowed certain members of his leadership group to chastise fans simply because they spoke out against what those individuals were doing. He allowed players to get away with come immoral things and simply looked the other way. So can you imagine Cheeks trying to do a good job as a head coach with all of that going on? Imagine it because it did happen quite a bit.

Cheeks’ firing allows him to get a second chance in the league. He has a decent record as a first time head coach and that alone should give him crack at running a team on the court. First team who should give him a call should be the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin McHale should be chomping at the bit to hire Cheeks as soon as this season is over with. He should also try to orchestate some remedies on his roster to insure that the bickering and infighting is halted. Two other teams that should be calling are the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks. Both of these teams need a coach who can keep the superstars from screwing up team chemistry but those problems can only be fixed when the team’s owners put general managers in place who understand how to run a basketball team.

We shall see if Cheeks is back on the sidelines soon. After the Portland job, he definitely deserves another crack at being a head coach in the league. He has shown that he can get the job done even under the worse of circumstances.