Is football more important than our rights?

Alabama expending public funds to persecute artist

The Daniel Moore saga continues. Bob Gambacurta revealed some startling information about the case. According to the report, the University of Alabama has spent somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million in its attack on Moore. And a portion of it is public money.

Moore raised one of the best questions asked about the case. According to the article, “Moore questioned why the university would spend ‘well over a million-dollars,’ when the damages in the case amount to $800,000 or less.”

The university hides behind protecting its “trademarks, name, colors, indicia and logos.”

But it goes beyond that.

This is about poor leadership. It is poor leadership within the athletic department. It also looks like it is poor leadership in the administration of Dr. Robert Witt.

The case is a money grab wrapped up in important issues of artistic freedom. The university wants to control the presentation of important historical events and make money from the artistic depictions. It would be like Napoleon demanding a percentage when an artist painted him crossing the Alps, or Adam insisting on a royalty when Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel.

A win for Alabama would be bad for the First Amendment. Beyond being a cash machine, the University of Alabama is a public institution dedicated to preparing minds; its mission is more important than wringing dollars from the football program. The University should consider how this lawsuit harms the society it is supposed to serve. Is chilling the First Amendment a good thing for Alabama and the nation?

As Gambacurta reports, “Although the university’s licensing agent, Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), may be footing some of the legal bills, it’s clear that whatever funds the university is expending on the case are public funds.”

The University is expending public funds in a pursuit that is bad for the public. Is making every dollar possible available to the athletic department more important than the First Amendment? Will the university sacrifice our rights in this money grab?

End this lawsuit Dr. Witt.