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Former Northwestern players retain prominent civil rights attorney amid hazing scandal

Eight former student-athletes from Northwestern University have retained outstanding civil rights lawyer Ben Crump amid allegations of a hazing scandal that prompted the college to fireplace longtime head soccer coach Pat Fitzgerald final week.

Crump and co-counsel Steven M. Levin introduced Monday that they’ve spoken with a number of Northwestern student-athletes in regard to the hazing allegations surrounding the soccer program that surfaced earlier this month.

Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald walks the sidelines throughout the second quarter in opposition to the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium. (Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports activities)

“Whether or not the coaches at Northwestern authorised or participated within the harassment of those gamers or not, they’re liable for permitting and enabling a poisonous, disgusting, and damaging tradition of their packages,” Crump stated.


“Sadly, our analysis means that this type of abuse of pupil athletes could also be way more widespread on faculty campuses than we all know, as a result of there’s super stress to maintain quiet. It’s time for a reckoning to guard younger athletes.”

Northwestern President Michael Schill introduced in an open letter on July 10 that the choice to fireplace Fitzgerald after 17 seasons with the Wildcats got here because of an unbiased investigation that discovered him at fault over his “failure to know and forestall important hazing within the soccer program.”

Pat Fitzgerald enters the field

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats staff earlier than the sport in opposition to the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. (Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports activities)

Fitzgerald was initially suspended two weeks following the confidential investigation, which didn’t discover “adequate” proof that the teaching workers knew concerning the ongoing hazing. It additionally discovered that there have been, nevertheless, “important alternatives” to search out out about it and practically a dozen present or former gamers acknowledged the hazing inside the program.


However as new data, together with allegations of racial bias, surfaced, the college moved to fireplace Fitzpatrick.

“These former Northwestern soccer gamers are collaborating on this authorized motion as a result of they wish to assist and validate the allegations of abuse made by the 2 gamers who spoke to the Day by day Northwestern concerning the true nature of the so-called hazing,” Levin stated in an announcement.

“They imagine that extra stringent oversight and accountability are required in faculty athletics to forestall such abuses from occurring to different gamers sooner or later. The bodily, emotional and sexual abuse not solely violated Northwestern’s personal insurance policies, but in addition quite a few legal guidelines, and worse, has led to irreparable hurt, with some gamers even experiencing suicidal ideas.”

Northwestern football helmet

Northwestern Wildcats helmet throughout the faculty soccer sport between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Palo Alto, CA. (Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Pictures)


Crump famous that they’ve spoken to others and that “authorized motion is predicted to increase past Northwestern’s soccer program and can expose excessive and abusive hazing in different faculty athletic packages as nicely.”

Fitzgerald issued an announcement after his firing pointing to the investigation as affirmation that he had no data of any hazing inside the program. He additionally retained authorized counsel and stated that he had instructed his lawyer to “take the required steps to guard my rights in accordance with the legislation.”

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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Printed : 2023-07-17 20:07:08

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