Southern University’s former athletic director turns to social media to announce mayoral run _lowres

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG --- Greg LaFleur, left, speaks to Brusly Middle School students during a Black History Month program in 2010.

While other politicians in Baton Rouge spent Wednesday rolling out meticulously-coordinated campaign announcements, former pro football player and onetime Southern University Athletic Director Greg LaFleur revealed his mayoral bid in a more subdued fashion — a statement on his blog.

The tight end’s announcement is light on policy, and it doesn’t actually even mention his party affiliation, but it does include some sporty puns. LaFleur promises to “put forward a game plan so that East Baton Rouge Parish can reach its full potential” and “tackle the challenges our community continues to face.”

His remarks focus more on his personal story — getting an LSU athletic scholarship, being drafted in the third round by the Eagles and playing in the NFL for six years before coming back to Baton Rouge and working in the athletic departments of both the Tigers and the Jaguars. His older son Robert Sacre also became a professional athlete and is a center for the Lakers.

LaFleur eventually became athletic director at Southern but was fired after being arrested in a prostitution sting in Houston during the 2011 NCAA men’s Final Four.

A jury found him not guilty and LaFleur sued Southern for breach of contract, eventually settling for $150,000 — about half the money he would have made if he had been allowed to fulfill the full terms of his contract.

According to his statement, LaFleur has also served as athletic director for Chicago State, Huston-Tillotson College in Austin and Texas State. He describes himself now as a business management consultant.

He did not return calls for comment Wednesday after posting his announcement, or earlier in the week when he created Facebook and Twitter accounts for his campaign.

As he did with his statement, LaFleur’s Facebook page emphasizes his football career, showing photos of him posing with other athletes and playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1980s.

Voting records indicate LaFleur lives on Cal Road in the Jefferson Terrace subdivision and is a Democrat, making him the third to enter the mayoral race so far, along with former Metro Councilman Byron Sharper and former state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome. Former Metro Councilman Rodney “Smokie” Bourgeois, Metro Councilman John Delgado and State Sen. Mack “Bodi” White have entered as Republicans, White just hours before LaFleur’s announcement.

Elsewhere in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, Mayor-President Kip Holden, who is completing his third term, announced that he’s running for U.S. Congress against U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, who has held the seat since 2010.

Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.