Amelia Rayno's harassment claims blow up U's blame-it-in-the-booze spin

The Gophers basketball reporter's allegations indicate a pattern of Norwood Teague's creepiness.

The Gophers basketball reporter's allegations indicate a pattern of Norwood Teague's creepiness.

It looks like it wasn’t just the booze groping.

In comments surrounding Norwood “Mega Tongue” Teague’s resignation Friday, the University of Minnesota’s former athletics director and school president Eric Kaler both alluded to alcohol factoring into his behavior that prompted sexual harassment claims from two women. According to university documents, one of the women claimed Teague sucked down two martinis and a glass of vino before dinner that night.

“At a recent university event, I had entirely too much to drink,” Mega Tongue said in a statement. “I behaved badly toward nice people, including sending truly inappropriate texts. I am embarrassed and apologize for my offensive behavior. This behavior neither reflects my true character nor the values of the University.”

However, it apparently reflects a pattern. New allegations from Star Tribune reporter Amelia Rayno indicate that Teague’s creeper status wasn’t confined to one bad drunken night, as the story was initially spun. 

Rayno often communicated with Mega Tongue via text, mostly sports talk. “But over time the tone of the messages slowly changed, particularly at night,” she writes. He called her “cute” and on another night asked if she was wearing pajamas after she declined to grab a drink with him.

In the interest of cultivating a source, Rayno had seen Teague on numerous occasions, mostly in group settings, including a few parties at his house. The night of Dec. 13, 2013 she went to a going-away party for an athletics department staffer. On her way out, Rayno received a text from the then-AD inviting her to get a drink, to which she obliged. Evidently, Teague often asked about Rayno’s boyfriend and when she let slip that they had recently broken up, Mega Tongue went into creep mode.

Rayno writes:

The switch flipped. Suddenly, in a public and crowded bar, Teague tried to throw his arm around me. He poked my side. He pinched my hip. He grabbed at me. Stunned and mortified, I swatted his advances and firmly told him to stop. He didn’t.

“Don’t deny,” he said, “our chemistry.”

I told him that he was drastically off base, that my only intention in being there was as a reporter – to which he replied: “You’re all strictly business? Nothing else?”

I walked out. He followed me. I hailed a cab. He followed me in, grabbing at my arm and scooting closer and closer in the dark back cabin until I was pressed against the door. I told him to stop. I told him it was not OK. He laughed. When I reached my apartment, I vomited.

Later that night he texted: “Night strictly bitness.’’

From then on Rayno did her best to avoid Mega Tongue, though when her job demanded she call him for comments had would often say “You owe me” afterward, Rayno writes. His inappropriate comments and texts kept coming, including invitations to travel with the team to “get more scoops.” When Rayno would decline his continued cocktail invites, Mega Tongue would text “things like ‘R u pouting?’ and ‘The colonel is coming after you.’”

The colonel? Really?

Rayno and Teague did not respond to interview requests, and Kaler would not comment beyond a statement he released to the Strib apologizing to Rayno.

“I view this as the action of one man who was overserved [alcohol] and a series of bad events happened,” Kaler reportedly said at a press conference prior to Rayno’s claims.

It turns out there was more than one night Teague’s victims would rather forget.