Member since Jan 2008
Gene Jelks' return to Tuscaloosa (Posted on 5/16/11 at 8:54 am)
Hats off to him for this. The past is the past and can't be undone, but thought it was stand up of him to come back like he did.
Almost 20 years ago, after a brief pro football career failed to sustain, the Gadsden native rocked the entire state with allegations against Alabama of receiving cash payments, potentially serious NCAA violations. It was a decision that cast Jelks out of favor with former teammates and fans alike. And the revelation that followed - that Jelks had also accepted 28 checks totaling nearly $37,000 to make the allegations from what Jelks described as "Auburn people" - decimated his standing with the Alabama Nation even more.
Over the weekend, Jelks was in town to volunteer to help tornado victims, and to speak to a church congregation about his mistakes, his trials and his eventual redemption. Jelks credits Noel Humphrey, pastor at Truth Seekers International in Atlanta, and the brother of former UA star running back - and Jelks' teammate - Bobby Humphrey,with helping him process what he calls "nineteen years of guilt and shame."
After volunteering throughout the day, Dare drove Jelks through some of Tuscaloosa's most weather-torn areas, such as Alberta and 15th Street. Jelks began calling former teammates that hadn't yet seen the damage, calling on them to help the victims.
"It's beyond my comprehension right now," Jelks said.
One of the teammates he called was Kerry Goode, who had an encouraging hand in Jelks' first trip to Tuscaloosa since the controversy. It came last August at a reunion for UA players of the Ray Perkins coaching era. Goode convinced Jelks to attend, and before Jelks arrived, it was Goode who spoke to the assembled former players and asked them to embrace a teammate who needed re-acceptance.
"Kerry was the spokesperson to soften their hearts," Jelks said.
"He was very reluctant, of course," Goode said. "I told him, 'A lot of these guys just want to look you in the eye and talk to you, and see what was going on in your life at that time.' ? If they didn't warm up to him, I guess they just didn't approach him. But I didn't see anyone that was negative. Everyone I saw came up and shook his hand and hugged him. He was very excited. His spirit was lifted."
eta - never knew this went down...lol (not the death threats part, but the ex-assistant throwing down with him.)
There were low points that included a physical altercation with former Alabama assistant coach Jerry Pullen, who had been named in Jelks' allegations, and death threats.
This post was edited on 5/16 at 8:58 am
Chernobyl Former USSR
Member since Mar 2010
re: Gene Jelks' return to Tuscaloosa (Posted on 5/16/11 at 12:04 pm to antibarner)
Sorry, I dont have the link but it's an old article from th Bham news...
JELKS WANTED TO SETTLE CASE, CLEAR NAMES
Author: Doug Segrest News staff writer
DECATUR, Ga. - Shortly before winning a slander suit filed against him, Gene Jelks approached attorneys for two former Gadsden associates to try to settle the case and "clear" names.It is perhaps the strangest twist of the Jelks' saga: The former Alabama football standout, whose allegations led to an NCAA probe into the Crimson Tide program, said he was willing to recant charges made against former UA assistant Jerry Pullen and Gadsden businessman Harold Simmons.
"I'm willing to . . . clear Mr. Pullen's name if we can compromise," Jelks said in an interview with Pullen's attorneys on March 13 in his hometown of Gadsden. "That's the issue. That's the bottom line. And no one is putting me up to this. This is my doing.'' One week later, Jelks requested a meeting with Birmingham lawyer Fred Erben, who is representing Simmons. Jelks and Erben also met in Gadsden.
In an affidavit, Erben said, "Gene Jelks told me he was tired of everything that had been going on and that he wanted to tell the truth. Gene Jelks told me that he wanted to clear Harold Simmons' name, along with that of coach Pullen, because what happened to them was not fair, that they had done nothing wrong, and that his words had been distorted."
Both a transcript of the interview and Erben's affidavit were filed as part of the DeKalb County, Ga., Superior Court records in Pullen's defamation suit against Jelks. But neither the interview nor the affidavit were addressed in court proceedings because Judge Linda Hunter found in favor of Jelks Monday.
In a November 1992 story in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Jelks alleged that Pullen and Simmons had offered him cash and benefits in return for signing with Alabama.
But in his interview with Erben, Jelks said he was urged to go public against Alabama Jelks, in an October 1992 meeting in Atlanta with former Auburn booster Corky Frost and Atlanta attorney Stan Kreimer.
"Gene Jelks told me that he was told by Corky Frost . . . that his case was similar to the Eric Ramsey case, and that they wanted the same thing to happen to Alabama that had happened to Auburn. Gene Jelks told me that he thought the plan was a "sham' and that he wanted to return to Gadsden, but that he was not allowed to do so," Erben said in the affidavit.
Frost, like Jelks a Gadsden native, was a key figure in the Ramsey scandal, which led to two years of probation for Auburn. He was later forced to disassociate from the Tiger program.
Kreimer was Jelks' attorney in the defamation suit until he was disqualified.
"Gene Jelks told me that he had been told what to say,'' Erben added. "He told me that they (Frost and Kreimer) had arranged for him to record several telephone conversations. The telephone and recording equipment was provided."
A 45-minute conversation Jelks secretly taped with Pullen was the basis for Judge Hunter's ruling in favor of Jelks in the defamation suit.
According to Erben, Jelks "told me that since the death of his father, he had been bothered greatly by what happened. Gene Jelks told me that prior to his death, his father had told him that he needed to clear the air and be truthful and go on with his life. Gene told me that it was now his desire to tell the truth."
Pullen's suit alleged that Jelks was involved in a conspiracy to damage the credibility of Pullen and the Alabama football program.
Pullen's attorneys, Thomas Cauthorn and Randy Edwards, met with Jelks at Jelks' request at a Gadsden automobile body shop in March, according to the document.
The attorneys have submitted additional documentation of bank records that now show Jelks received close to $67,000 from an escrow account with Kreimer's law firm since he went public with the allegations in November 1992.
But the main thrust in their interview is to find out who, other than Kreimer, was responsible for providing Jelks the money.
Even in his effort to reconcile, Jelks did not provide specifics.
"I'll keep that information in mind about revealing who they (the sources of the income) are,'' Jelks said, ""who was paying through this escrow account and the fees. . . . In the meantime, I need to protect Gene, however I have to do that."
As he did with Erben, Jelks again said his family was a major consideration for providing new information.
"My mother (has) got to live here in this state," Jelks said in the transcript. "She's a sweet lady. . . . My family had nothing to do with this. So I'm asking that nobody harass my mother, brothers, sisters . . . they are good, Christian people. I'm the one - it was my choice (to come forward)."
Copyright (c) 1995 Birmingham News