Monday, March 19, 2012

RIP Furman Bisher, 1918 - 2012

image Former Atlanta Journal-Constitution sportswriter passed away Sunday, the victim of a heart attack.

While I will not speak ill of the dead, I will only offer hope that he found peace and forgiveness for his libelous assault on legendary Alabama head coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant and former Georgia athletic director Wally Butts.

In May 1963, Bisher rushed a story to print in the Saturday Evening Post, accusing Bryant and Butts of conspiring to fix a September 1962 football game between the two schools. Both men sued the publication.

Bryant settled his claim out of court and in his autobiography, wrote that “the Saturday Evening Post took 10 years off my life.”

Butts took his case to a jury, and won a verdict worth just over $3.0 million that was later reduced on appeal. The Post’s publisher appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court and lost every round.

The magazine never recovered, ceasing weekly publication in 1969. Bisher set out to destroy two very popular college football figures. Instead, he destroyed the Saturday Evening Post.

Bisher however, continued his disdain for Alabama and Bryant,in the Atlanta paper, never missing an opportunity to swing at Alabama, Bryant and Alabama fans.

He wrote his last column in 2009 and retired.

Get the background about The Post story and what it meant here.

Read what Coach Bryant wrote about the ordeal here.

RIP, Mr. Bisher. I hope you got right before the ticker stopped.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.