The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 24, 2013

Hoffner takes dispute with MSU to ESPN

MANKATO — A fired Minnesota State University football coach, who has been fighting through his union to get his job back, has taken his case to television.

ESPN announced Friday that its "Outside the Lines" program will air a story on Todd Hoffner, who was fired from his job at MSU earlier this month. He lost his job as head coach in August after he turned in his university-issued cellphone for repairs.

An information technology employee found nude videos of Hoffner's children on the phone, which eventually led to the phone being turned over to Blue Earth County sheriff's investigators and Hoffner's arrest at his Eagle Lake home Aug. 21.

He was charged with producing child pornography, but the charges were eventually dismissed by District Court Judge Krista Jass.

A video teaser available on the Internet suggests the ESPN program will focus on the impact the situation has had on Hoffner and his family. It is scheduled to air 8 a.m. Sunday.

ESPN's news release also said a story about Hoffner will be in the issue of ESPN The Magazine that will be on newsstands May 31.

"I couldn¹t believe it," Hoffner is quoted as saying in the news release. "I watched the videos and I¹m like, come on. They¹re laughing; they¹re singing; they¹re playful; they¹re having fun. I just didn¹t see the magnitude of arresting somebody for that. I couldn¹t see it."

On the video, Hoffner said he felt ostracized after he posted a bond for his release from jail and before the charges were dismissed. He said he went straight from the jail to his son's football game in Mankato. The reaction by other parents at the game wasn't positive.

"You would have thought I was an ax murderer," he said on the video.

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