Cunningham May Face Lawsuit


Minnesota Vikings quarterback Randall Cunningham is a backup on the field but insists that in the recording studio, he was the main man.

Cunningham could face a lawsuit that accuses him of wrongly taking credit for producing and writing songs on a gospel CD he volunteered to work on during the offseason. New Jersey record executive Phil Hurtt says he produced the CD and that Teddy Johnson

an artist Hurtt manages helped write several songs. When the CD came out, Cunningham was listed as the sole producer and songwriter.

The 36-year-old Pro Bowl veteran denies the allegations made by Hurtt, and said Hurtt has never complained to him.

Hurtt also says Cunningham interfered with Johnson's contract by luring him to move to Las Vegas, where Cunningham is building a recording studio, and join in Cunningham's music ventures. Hurtt says he plans to sue.

Earlier this year, Cunningham made a CD for Christian Athletes United for Spiritual Empowerment, an outreach ministry of professional athletes headed by the Rev. Keith Johnson, chaplain for the Vikings.

Keith Johnson said that the CD was Cunningham's idea and that Cunningham wrote all of the songs for which he was given credit. He said Cunningham hoped the CD, "Experience the Power of God," would inspire athletes in their faith.

"It was a ministry tool, not a moneymaking venture," Keith Johnson said. "We wanted people to say, `Hey, I've got this CD by quarterback Randall Cunningham that you should hear."'

CAUSE financed the estimated $70,000 it cost to make the CD. Musicians from around the country were flown to the East Coast to record. Hurtt also was tapped, along with Teddy Johnson.

Hurtt said he was outraged after the CD was released when he discovered Cunningham had listed himself as the producer and sole writer.

"It's deception," said Hurtt, who was listed as assistant producer. "I'm supposed to have been second fiddle to a football player? I'm really surprised that a man like Randall Cunningham, whom I trusted as a Christian, failed in this area of integrity."

Teddy Johnson takes issue with his manager's allegations. He said he helped Cunningham, but not enough to warrant attribution as a co-writer. Johnson also insists that Cunningham was in charge of the CD.

"These were Randall Cunningham's lyrics and Randall Cunningham's songs," Teddy Johnson said. "There's no question that he produced the CD. It's sad that a project that's suppsed to uplift the Lord is being dragged down by pettiness."

Cunningham acknowledges that he didn't have any studio experience before the project, but he said that "God showed me what to do." He said Hurtt mixed the music, per their agreement, but "as producer" he told Hurtt what he wanted.

"There's no deception," Cunningham said. "I was sent to produce the CD, and I produced the CD. The music was meant to be a blessing to people. And now this."

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