Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is seeking justice for former Northwestern University athletes who’ve accused the school of hazing practices.
According to the well-respected lawyer, dozens of ex-competitors who played in sports such as football, baseball, and softball contacted Crump’s office. Per ESPN, he and Chicago attorney Steven Levin plan to file a lawsuit on behalf of 15 alleged victims of hazing soon. They have also reportedly spoken with dozens more former athletes with similar reports.
Yesterday (July 18), the university revealed it is launching two external investigations into its athletic department. This comes after the firing of head football coach Pat Fitzgerald and baseball coach Jim Foster. However, during a previous six-month probe into hazing allegations, the school didn’t find evidence identifying perpetrators or proof that Fitzgerald or any other coaches knew about the alleged assaults, the outlet added.
“I find it hard to believe that [coaches] were not aware of what was taking place,” said Lloyd Yates, a quarterback at Northwestern from 2015 to 2017. “A lot of coaches took part in it in many different manners, and the… behavior was so explicit. It was loud. It took place in close proximity to where a lot of the staff, trainers were located. It’s kind of hard to take a blind eye.”
Crump claimed the athletes he spoke with made attempts to report allegations to staff members but were “met with hostility and retaliation.” Yates, who is Black, said that the culture “was especially devastating for many players of color.” He revealed that players were “physically and emotionally beaten down” and that some “have contemplated suicide” because of it. “This is a civil rights issue for me,” Crump noted. “Because I think these players have the right to be respected and valued and not hazed, intimidated, and retaliated.”
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