Northwestern Accusations Include Other Sports

Former quarterback says head coach enabled culture of racism
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2023 4:28 PM CDT
Northwestern Accusations Involve Other Sports: Lawyers
Former Northwestern football player Tom Carnifax speaks during a press conference addressing widespread hazing accusations at Northwestern University on Wednesday in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

Allegations of hazing that first surfaced in Northwestern University's football program broadened Wednesday, with private attorneys saying male and female athletes in two other sports reported misconduct. The athletes also suggested that sexual abuse and racial discrimination in the football team were so rampant that coaches had to know what was going on, the lawyers said. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said he other lawyers have received disturbing details from former baseball and softball players, in addition to more complaints of abuse in the football program. Crump, who said 50 former Northwestern athletes and one cheerleader have spoken to the Levin & Perconti law firm, called it a civil rights issue, the AP reports.

"I think these players have the right to be respected and valued and not hazed, intimidated and retaliated," Crump said. Black football players appeared to have faced an additional layer of abuse. A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses fired football coach Pat Fitzgerald of enabling a culture of racism, including forcing players of color to cut their hair and behave differently to be more in line with the "Wildcat Way." Loyd Yates, a former Northwestern quarterback who is Black, said, "The abusive culture was especially devastating for many players of color." Crump and Chicago-based attorney Steven Levin said that they represent 15 people.

Warren Miles Long, a running back on the football team starting in 2013, said players were put into a culture where sexual violence and hazing was prevalent and new recruits had no sense of whether it was normal or limited to Northwestern. The attorneys declined to detail the former athletes' complaints about the baseball or softball programs. The Evanston, Illinois, private school fired baseball coach Jim Foster after allegations of misconduct last week, three days after Fitzgerald was dismissed. Yates said every member of the team was a victim, "no matter what our role was at the time," and lamented the school and team's lack of leadership. "The university and football program let us down, and that's why we are here today," Yates said, surrounded by former teammates who have also retained the Crump-led team of attorneys.

(More college sports stories.)

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