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University of Alabama blasts son of former Bucs owner Culverhouse

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The son of the late original Buccaneers owner, Hugh Culverhouse is front and center in a multimillion-dollar controversy with the University of Alabama. And after Hugh Culverhouse Jr wrote his side of the story in the Washington Post on Friday, the school responded in a scathing press release Sunday afternoon.

At the heart of the dispute is Culverhouse Jr.’s claim that the school removed his name off of the Alabama School of Law, because he spoke out about the state legislature’s new abortion law, recently. Alabama lawmakers passed House Bill 314 on May 14th. It’s also known as, “Human Life Protection Act,” and bans most all forms of abortion in the state. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the Bill into law on May 16th.

The school announced that they were also refunding Culverhouse Jr.’s $21.5 million-dollar donation to the law school, as part of removing any connection from him to it.

After the very public PR nightmare over the past week, Culverhouse Jr, who is a now a mostly retired real estate attorney in Miami, wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. On Friday he condemned the state for the passage of the law and the actions of the school against him. It said in part,

“I am proud to have been born and raised in Alabama. My family’s roots run deep in the state and, for decades, we have been honored to celebrate that heritage by supporting the University of Alabama. It’s where my father learned to practice law, which gave him the tools to succeed in America along with a strong understanding of right and wrong.

Over the past 30 years, we have chosen to repay that debt and make use of our good fortune by supporting the university financially. I’ve long believed that the school served the public good by training the next generation of leaders and, last year, I made the decision to donate $26.5 million so that those leaders could flourish just as my family has.”

Culverhouse continued,

My love for Alabama is exactly why I was so horrified to watch its lawmakers trample over the Constitution last month. The ban on abortion they passed wasn’t just an attack against women, it was an affront to the rule of law itself. Part of being an American is engaging in public debate, and we can disagree over this issue. But the courts settled this matter a long time ago: Abortion is legal. So it was shocking to see legislators ignore this and pass a bill that turned women and health professionals into criminals, and it felt important to say so publicly.

I expected that speaking out would have consequences, but I never could have imagined the response from the University of Alabama, which on Friday said it would be returning my gift and removing my name from the law school. This decision will hurt future students. Less money will be available for scholarships, and there will be fewer resources for the school to use to educate young minds and help them grow. 

Well, as is always the case, there are two sides to every story and Sunday afternoon the University of Alabama came back at Culverhouse Jr. “with both barrels loaded.”

The school clarified through a statement their real reasons they say that they removed Culverhouse and refunded his donation. Including, that they had voted to do this and notified him in the days before he spoke out the state and school’s stance on the abortion bill.

The statement on behalf of the Alabama University System from media contact Kelle Reinhart reads:

“Our decision was never about the issue of abortion. It was always about ending the continued outside interference by the donor in the operations of the University of Alabama School of Law. As the attached emails factually establish, the donor attempted to influence:

  1. Student Admissions;
  2. Scholarship Awards;
  3. The hiring and firing of faculty and
  4. The employment status of the law school dean.

These emails also clearly establish the Chancellor (Finis) St. John’s recommendation to refund all monies came on May 25 — four days prior to any public comment by the donor about abortion. The donor’s continuing effort to rewrite history by injecting one of society’s most emotional, divisive issues into this decision is especially distasteful. These facts should finally set the record straight.”

They then attached numerous emails totally debunking the younger Culverhouse’s position in the op-ed, including the timeline that he was told about the removal and return of his gift from last fall. The dates and times are clearly before he spoke out about the law change.

Culverhouse Sr. was the original owner awarded the Buccaneers franchise in the mid-1970s. They began play in 1976 and promptly lost every game their first season and the first 12 games of the 14 game schedule in year two. However, Tampa Bay coach John McKay turned everything around in year number four, won the NFC Central and a playoff game behind quarterback Doug Williams and all-world defensive tackle Lee Roy Selmon.

The Bucs largely languished as a laughing stock to the 1980s and early 90s, and Culverhouse was regularly ridiculed for being too miserly with his money, as an owner. This was also prior to NFL free agency and the Buccaneers repeatedly blundered draft picks and player moves.

This included, not re-signing Williams when he became a free agent in 1983, and Williams going on to lead the Washington Redskins to a Superbowl win. It also included the team drafting Heisman Trophy winning running back Bo Jackson with the first overall pick in 1986, but he refused to play for them and chose to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals instead.

Culverhouse Jr. and his sister Gay, both had administrative roles with the team under their father’s ownership. However, Culverhouse became very ill in 1993 and died of cancer in 1994. At which time, the trust he had set up to control the team sold it to the current ownership group, the Glazer family, in 1995.

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Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.

Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?

Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.

Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,

Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:

“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”

“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option? 

The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.

After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”

While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.

Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.

The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.

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Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?

First, the team released another video with clues about them intending to change their uniform and potentially alter their logo:

The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:

“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”

As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.

This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,

The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.

NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.

It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.

The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.

Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.

So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.

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