I've left messages for Mark Taylor, the attorney representing the three men suing Michael Irvin, but I did speak a moment ago with Larry Friedman, who's repping the former Dallas Cowboy and who's mentioned in the complaint about which we wrote this morning. And Friedman doesn't mince words when asked to respond to the litigation: "The lawsuit is totally bogus," he tells Unfair Park. "These guys have nothing to offer."
[Update at 2:45 p.m.: After the jump, Taylor responds to Friedman's comments. Says Taylor, "I'll be interesting."]
He says that, yes, Jordan Bealmear, Shannon Clark and Christopher Harding did indeed approach Irvin about a show like 4th and Long -- but "saying they had the concept for this show is like saying they came up with the game Tic Tac Toe. This concept is not proprietary. This show is about the relationship between Michael Irvin and the Dallas Cowboys, and these guys had nothing to do with that. That started when Michael was drafted by the Cowboys."
Friedman refutes all claims in the suit, among them that Irvin and the three men were in the middle of negotiating terms of a deal when Irvin backed out and took the deal elsewhere. Says Friedman, "These guys had nothing. They never negotiated with Michael. They had nada. N-A-D-A. That's all they had. No experience, no sponsors, no producers, no directors, no cable, no nothing. One guy worked for Hooters. One guy worked for a public relations company, and the other guy was unemployed. They had nothing with a capital N. It's a joke. These guy are a joke."
He's planning on filing his response "as soon as I am out of trial," he says, meaning today or by week's end at latest. Says Friedman, "These guys will be sorry. And, unfortunately, Michael continues to pay the price of success."
And now, for Taylor's side of the story -- through, truth is, much of what he has to say can be found in the original 10-page complaint. Nonetheless, he maintains that his clients had a deal with Irvin, who they sought out precisely because of his relationship with the Cowboys. "They considered other people as well," he says, but wanted Irvin because of his "unique relationship with the Cowboys they thought would make their concept successful."
Taylor also reiterates the claim made in the suit that Irvin wanted 75, then 95 percent of the show's profits -- a claim Friedman denies, insisting they never made it to negotiations. Taylor says they did -- and that all parties involved were actually in Friedman's office to sign the deal with it went six feet south.
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He was also asked why his clients waited to file suit more than a week after the series's premiere. Why, for instance, didn't they file a temporary injunction to keep the show off the air till the ownership of the show was settled?
"Obviously that's something we did consider," he says. "We were trying to talk to Larry Friedman's office. I don't know that it would have benefited my clients to stop the show."
"To me," he says, "it always struck me as a case where they had an agreement and we're trying to enforce it. To do that, we didn't think it was necessary to interfere with the airing of the show."