BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- An attorney for fired Alabama football
coach Mike Price has asked a court to end legal wrangling over the
identity of a confidential source used by Sports Illustrated in its
story about a night of drunken partying by Price.
Price attorney Steve Heninger said topless club dancer Lori
Boudreaux, who received $200 from Sports Illustrated writer Don
Yaeger as cab fare to come to a photo shoot for the article, is the
only person who could have provided information for the story.
Price is suing Sports Illustrated publisher Time Inc. for $20
million over the story. The magazine is appealing a judge's
decision that it must reveal the identity of a source, an appeal
backed by a number of national news organizations.
But Heninger, in a motion filed Tuesday, asked a judge let
Price's slander case move forward since evidence gathered through
sworn statements made it clear Boudreaux was Yaeger's source.
"Why fuss when we know who we're talking about?" Heninger
said. "Let's move on and get to the facts."
Sports Illustrated spokesman Rick McCabe said Wednesday the
story had "multiple confidential sources," and the magazine was
bound to protect the identities of all of them.
While the magazine has a policy against paying sources for
information, he said, it did cover transportation costs for
Boudreaux to a photo session. The magazine published a photo of
Boudreaux with the story on Price.
Heninger said Yaeger, in a sworn statement, acknowledged giving
Boudreaux $200, and Yaeger's testimony showed he didn't talk with
anyone else who could have supplied him with information for the
Yaeger in the past denied paying for information for the story,
published after Price was dismissed by the University of Alabama.
Price is now the head coach at Texas-El Paso.
Price accused Sports Illustrated of slandering him in a story
about the night of partying that included a trip to a strip club in
Pensacola, Fla., in April 2003. Boudreaux was a dancer at the club.
Price admitted visiting the bar, getting very drunk and
returning to his hotel with a woman, but he denied the magazine's
claims that he engaged in sex with two women in the room.
A key part of the magazine story was based on an anonymous
female source, and Price's attorney has fought to have her name
revealed in court. A district judge told Sports Illustrated to
reveal the name of the source in December, but the magazine is
fighting the order.
The judge held that Alabama law protects the confidentiality of
sources for newspapers and broadcast news outlets but does not
mention magazines. The appeal contends in part that the ruling
wrongly discriminates against various types of news organizations.