Late yesterday afternoon, Deandre Poole, embattled FAU instructor who is accused of asking his students to "stomp on Jesus," said that Ryan Rotela -- the student who'd refused to participate -- had balled his fists that day after class and told Poole he wanted to hit him.
Now, Rotela has responded to the allegation: Bring it, Poole.
"If the professor wishes to engage and defend his actions in the belief that he was right, then I respond with this challenge: Go on the television with me and take it once again to the court of public opinion."
That's right, Poole. Take matters to the television -- don't act like you don't know which one he's talking about -- and put your faith in public opinion. Because it's been so rational about this whole fracas from the get-go.
Rotela didn't mention where, when, or how the two men would debate. Or what, exactly, the debate would concern. But man -- oh, man -- were his Facebook friends atwitter at the prospect.
Jamie Cotters had this to say: "Ryan, we are still with you, do what you have to do and hold you head high. Afraid of public opinion this so called teacher is."
In such a debate, Rotela would presumably challenge Poole on the veracity of his tale. His lawyer, Hiram Sadder, director of Litigation at Liberty, said Poole "was making it up" and denied that Rotela had threatened to pummel him.
The main argument between the two concerns why FAU reprimanded Rotela. Rotela says he was barred from Poole's class after he'd threatened to take the "stomp on Jesus" exercise public -- which he consequently did, and did again. Poole reported Rotela to the school because Rotela had come up to him and said, "I want to hit you."
Either way, this whole thing likely ballooned out of control. Poole talked to us from an undisclosed location because he's been bombarded with death threats. Rotela, meanwhile, has snared a lawyer -- for unclear reasons, considering there haven't been threats of litigation -- and won't take any more interviews.
"Note to media," he wrote recently on his Facebook wall. "Please, I don't need to do interviews; why not interview a movie star for their opinions? That is why they picked the profession in the first place. I did what I did because I knew it was right."
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