Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke makes it clear he is nothing like Nevin Shapiro.
Everyone, including Jeb Bush, is raving about filmmaker Billy Corben's latest homage to his alma mater, The U Part 2, the sequel to his 2009 documentary about the Miami Hurricanes football program's rise to national prominence.
Though the film has some great moments, Corben misportrayed me when he allowed ESPN radio host Dan Le Batard to compare me to Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro. That is bullshit. I am not a low-life, scum-of-the-earth asshole who steals a person's entire life. I am not Shapiro, Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, or Scott Rothstein. Obviously.
But Corben and Le Batard continue to perpetuate Shapiro's claim that he was known as "Lil Luke" because he paid off Hurricanes players for hard hits, covered their tabs at nightclubs and strip clubs around Miami, and threw wild parties for them at his Miami Beach mansion.
In 1994, Le Batard and another Miami Herald sportswriter, Ken Rodriguez, wrote a series of investigative articles about the Hurricanes football program that led to the NCAA dropping the hammer on the university. I was the focus of one of the articles. Rodriguez and Le Batard wrote that I "had a pay scale for big games: $50 for a caused fumble or a fumble recovery, $100 for a sack -- a block that flattens an opponent, an interception, or a touchdown -- and $200 for an interception returned for a touchdown."
Le Batard launched his career with this crap. Reality check: The NCAA never sanctioned the University of Miami because of my relationship with the players. None of the allegations the Herald printed about me was ever proven. It was bullshit. Le Batard never acknowledges it. And Corben doesn't make that clear in The U Part 2. In fact, he starts the movie with me allegedly paying off players.
The program lost scholarships and bowl game appearances in the late 1990s because Miami academic adviser Tony Russell helped players scam the federal government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by falsifying Pell Grant applications.
Unlike Shapiro and Russell, I have never taken advantage of any football players, whether or not they played little league for me or came to my nightclubs. Yet I'm still dealing with the fallout. And this documentary will be around long after I'm dead. Lies don't die easily.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
So I want Dan to apologize on his national radio show.
Tune into Luke on The Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal 940 AM.