Attorney for UA basketball player Kai Spears calls NYT report false and harmful
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re getting new reaction to a New York Times report that claims a fourth Alabama basketball player was allegedly at the scene of that deadly shooting that killed Jamea Harris near the Strip in Tuscaloosa.
We spoke with Steve New, the attorney for Kai Spears - the player named in the NYT article - who calls the report false and harmful.
The Times reports Spears, a freshman walk on at Alabama, was present at the scene of the deadly shooting that took place in mid-January. The article says during a pretrial hearing, “the detective also made note of an unidentified passenger in Miller’s car. A person familiar with the case identified that person as Spears. That person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters in the case.”
Spears, his attorney, and the University of Alabama tell us the NYT report is false. New didn’t hold back about the article during an interview with WBRC.
“I think that this so-called sports journalist from the New York Times decided to go for clicks without doing proper due diligence, without following journalistic ethics and it’s blown up in his face,” New, Spears’ attorney, said.
UA Athletics director Greg Byrne calls the times report untrue. He said in a statement in part: “Some inaccurate narratives have been reported about the involvement of Alabama student-athletes that display an unfortunate disregard of the facts. We ask all to exercise careful due diligence before reporting on this sensitive situation.”
A spokesperson for the NYT tells us they are confident in their reporting and stand by it.
On Instagram, Spears called the Times report 100% inaccurate saying the writer had complete disregard for the truth.
Spears’ attorney says he wasn’t in the car or near the vicinity at the time. We did ask where was he? New said he’s not going to talk about that and said “the focus of this story needs to be on where he was not.”
New is also working on getting the surveillance video from the scene as well.
In a statement, Spears’ father Christian, who is Marshall University’s Athletic Director, said: “I am furious at the completely erroneous article(s) placing my son in the car at the scene. It is absolutely false; Kai was not there. I am grateful to the people who are supporting our family. We all must hold irresponsible journalists and their publications accountable.”
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