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Luther Campbell sues Miami’s new rogue booster for comparing himself to Luther Campbell

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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Generally speaking, it cannot be easy to personally offend the man who once had hits with the songs "Oh! Me So Horny!" and "Doo Doo Brown." But considering that that man happens to be former 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell, there is one foolproof way: Claim "Uncle Luke" as your inspiration for the most breathtaking tale of under-the-table excess in the history of college sports in the process of ratting out his favorite team for major NCAA violations.

That will get Campbell's attention in a hurry, and his attorney's:

Convicted Ponzi schemer and former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro is broke and behind bars, but rapper Luther Campbell still wants a piece of him.

The former 2 Live Crew singer and Miami-Dade mayoral candidate filed a defamation lawsuit against Shapiro Tuesday, claiming he was slandered by Shapiro in a Yahoo! Sports investigative report published in August that detailed improper benefits allegedly given by Shapiro to UM players.
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"[Shapiro] has claimed, in essence, that by engaging in these illegal and immoral activities [he] was somehow merely picking up where [Campbell] left off, thereby representing that [Campbell] was also guilty of committing these and other similar and illegal and immoral acts," the lawsuit says. "By comparing himself, his actions, transgressions and role to [Campbell], [Shapiro] intended third parties to believe that [Campbell] was, like [Shapiro], involved in illegal, immoral and reprehensible activities."

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For sheer scale, scope and ambition, there is no competition: The excesses allegedly bankrolled by Shapiro with illegal funds between 2002 and 2009 are far beyond anything uncovered by the NCAA in the last 25 years, at least. But in Shapiro's mind, he was merely carrying on the tradition left by Campbell, the U's original lord of largess in the eighties, "the first uncle who took care of the players" before Shapiro wormed his way into the fold more than a decade later. "His role was diminished by the NCAA and the school, and someone needed to pick up that mantle," Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports. "That someone was me. He was 'Uncle Luke.' and I became 'Little Luke.'"

Campbell responded by calling his would-be protégé, among other things, a "jailhouse snitch," a "sketchy mother[profane]," a "beady-eyed defamer" and "all about himself." He advised the NCAA that it "shouldn't even waste gas money on this guy," and the warden at the prison where Shapiro is currently serving a 20-year sentence to keep him in the general population.{YSP:MORE}

Now, Campbell is suing on the grounds that — as he tells it, anyway — even the broader comparison between the two is a lie. Unlike Shapiro, Campbell was never "a booster"; he never gave money to the university or the football program. Despite his reputation, he claims he never broke NCAA rules when was "the team's biggest fan" in the eighties (although he did regularly host players at his strip club and may have once threatened to rat out the athletic department himself if Ryan Collins wasn't named the starting quarterback), and in fact claims he was was specifically cleared by the NCAA of the cash "bounties" he allegedly offered for big plays and injured opponents. And under no circumstances, according to Uncle Luke, would he have ever paid for a stripper to abort a baby allegedly fathered by a Miami player, as Shapiro says he did.

"This is black letter defamation 101. It couldn't be more simple," said Campbell's attorney, Michael Carney. "What we have here is Mr. Campbell is a 50-year-old guy...He has an edgy entertainment brand for sure...but his business and the proceeds thereof have all been legal."

A judge, jury or arbitrator can decide that, if Campbell's measly $15,000 suit ever sees the light of day at the end of an epic list of investors still trying to uncover millions they were conned into handing over to Shapiro's Ponzi scheme. But when the man who appeared on the covers of both In the Nude and Freak For Life considers his reputation seriously damaged by the mere association with your name, you're about as far in the hole as you can fall. Except, in Shaprio's case, he was already there.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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