Report: Lisa Olson incident overblown, but club bungled

November 18, 1990|By Will McDonough | Will McDonough,The Boston Globe

The 60-page report by the special counsel investigating the Lisa Olson incident reportedly finds the locker room episode "blown out of proportion," but indicates that New England Patriots management did a "disservice" to owner Victor Kiam in handling the situation.

Harvard law professor Philip Heymann was asked by Tagliabue to find out what happened in the Patriots locker room on the day Olson said she was sexually harassed, and to probe how team management handled the incident.

The Globe spoke with three highly placed National Football League executives who have discussed the report with commissioner Paul Tagliabue in the past week. There is only one copy of the report, and Tagliabue supposedly is the only one who has read it.

Tagliabue told them privately that the public portrayal of the events of the day has been "exaggerated" and that the players "did nothing of any physical nature. A couple of them said things, but there was nothing physical."

However, the report allegedly is critical of the performance of general manager Pat Sullivan and public relations director Jim Oldham.

Oldham was in the locker room the day of the incident and reported to Sullivan there had been a problem. Sullivan, according to sources, made a deal with Boston Herald sports editor Bob Sales, Olson's boss, to bury the incident and keep it from becoming public. But the story broke within in a week.

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