Tennessee coach denies saying football player betrayed teammates – CNN
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According to the complaint, Bowles then called the coach to tell him what happened.
The court document says: “Coach Jones stated to Bowles he was very disappointed in Bowles and that he had ‘betrayed the team.’ Bowles became extremely upset, broke down and cried.”
But Jones said Wednesday that didn’t happen.
“The assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false,” he said in a written statement. “To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question.”
The Title IX lawsuit also claims two other teammates had heated words for Bowles at a dining facility for UT athletes and a fight would have started if not for an assistant football coach’s intervention. The lawsuit says police interviewed at least one of the teammates involved in the altercation.
Jones condoned the “mistreatment, assaults and shunning of Drae Bowles,” the suit claims. Jane Does IV and V saw this treatment and feared for their safety, the document says.
“I have done nothing wrong,” Jones said, adding that after a university review he is sure “my reputation will be affirmed.”
The university’s administration didn’t comment on the newest version of the lawsuit. It said the school’s athletics director, Dave Hart, will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Filing: Culture of assault
The lawsuit centers on six alleged rapes of female students reported between 2013 and 2015. Other plaintiffs say they were the victims of physical assault or retaliation.
The complaint alleges the University of Tennessee mishandled the reports of alleged sexual assaults by student athletes.
The university has denied permitting a culture of sexual assault to thrive on the Knoxville campus.
“We came together to change what is done about sexual assault,” one of the accusers, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe 1, said in a phone interview last week.
CNN’s policy is not to name victims of sexual assault or rape.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Nashville on February 9.
University lawyer: UT acted in good faith
The lawsuit claims the university’s administrative hearing process is “one-sided” and “denies victims the rights to a hearing and to the same equal procedural, hearing, and process rights as given to perpetrators of rape and sexual assault.” It also accuses the university of providing lawyers for students accused of misconduct and interfering with investigations.
Those hearing the complaints against students are appointed by the university, which also decides all appeals, according to the lawsuit.
Bill Ramsey, a lawyer for the university, said last week that Tennessee officials “acted lawfully and in good faith” in responding to the incidents mentioned in the complaint.
“We don’t arrange lawyers for them; that is not so,” Ramsey told CNN. “That the system or the way it works is skewed to assist athletes is just simply not accurate. The system is fair-minded, fair-handed (and) provides due process to all involved.”
Jones to CNN: Allegations hurt
As a father of three who grew up in a law enforcement household, Jones seems easily qualified to reel in young, impressionable student-athletes prone to misconduct off the field.
“I think of everything in terms of a father and a coach,” Jones recently told CNN’s Nick Valencia. “When you’re talking about somebody that understands ethics, it starts with myself and our entire staff.”
The lawsuit brought a mixture of emotions for Jones, who has been at the school since 2013.
“As the leader, yes, it hurts,” said Jones. “You get angry … I feel for the alleged victims but also I feel for our players as well … because of all that’s involved.”
Jones said there is an almost “daily dialogue” with players on how to treat women and a year-round personal growth and development program.
And he prides himself on the academic success and graduation rate of his players.
“Like a parent, you’re trying to educate them on great decisions,” he said. “We call it the ‘one-second rule’ — in one second your life can change by one decision and that’s life. … We talk about that every single day, about respect. Can you do better? Absolutely, you’re always looking to do better. “
Jones, whose father was a police chief and whose uncle was a state police commander in Michigan, said his athletes “don’t get away with many things” under the school’s disciplinary process.
“These isolated incidences are not an indication of what we have, the type of character that we have in our football program, and the culture that we have in our football program,” Jones said. “We have good people here. We support each other. The culture that exists here and what’s being portrayed are two totally different things.”