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Tide player, frat named in federal lawsuit

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The last thing a team churning toward a date with the BcS crystal needs is an off-field distraction.

Would this qualify?  Probably not, but it’s safe to say head coach Nick Saban isn’t pleased with the timing of this development.

According to the Birmingham News, senior H-back Kelly Johnson and his fraternity have been named as part of a personal injury lawsuit filed in federal court in Birmingham last Friday.  The amount of damages being sought was not detailed.

The suit claims that the alleged victim, Logan Herring, was involved in an incident at Johnson’s residence in September of 2010 that resulted in Herring suffering “a concussion and brain injury, memory loss, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.”

The incident occurred at what was described as a pledge event at Johnson’s home that was, oddly enough, serving alcohol to underage individuals.

The suit claims that, after Herring had puked all over a couch in Johnson’s residence, Herring was assaulted by Johnson in a bathroom, where the football player allegedly punched and kicked the alleged victim in the head to the point of unconsciousness.  For good measure, it’s alleged that Johnson gave Herring’s head a goodbye slam into a wall on his way out of the home.

As for why the frat is involved in the civil action, the News writes that “[t]he suit also alleges that members of the fraternity were aware that Johnson had assaulted another student at least once, including at least one other pledge.”

Johnson, who has played in all four of the No. 1 Tide’s games this season and started one, was not criminally charged for the events that led to the lawsuit.

The paper notes that Johnson was seen on the practice field Tuesday, preparing for this weekend’s game against Ole Miss.

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26 Responses to “Tide player, frat named in federal lawsuit”
  1. woebegong says: Sep 26, 2012 8:25 AM

    I would bet it somehow gets settled out of court and the kid will not miss a game for the Tide. I guess alcohol was the contributing factor for both the kid that got sick and beaten up, and the player that did the deed. I would also bet, if it didn’t involve a football player, it would not even be news. I wonder about the timing of the suit as well. Two years seems like a long time to get the evidence together, and bring formal charges.
    Not a fan of the Tide by any means but it all seems a little weird with the timing and such. We are talking two years between the incidence and the cri9minal charges and suit.
    The only question I would have, is did Saban know about it? If he did and nothing was done, that would seem to be an error of judgement on the coaches part. It is too early though to fix blame or judgement though on either the coaches or students part now.

  2. cometkazie says: Sep 26, 2012 8:58 AM

    Why is this a federal case? That raises questions, too.

  3. dmvtransplant says: Sep 26, 2012 9:01 AM

    I think if this would have happened in Florida, it would be a different story. In Florida hazing is an actual crime, just ask the FAMU band about it.

    My fraternity had a zero tolerance policy about hazing in college. Some guy died(while being forced to walk 10 miles down a highway at night) a couple of years before I went to school at another chapter and the Frat shut hazing down. I really wish more greek organizations would bring the hammer down on hazing, it has no place at a major university.

  4. scalpemseminoles says: Sep 26, 2012 9:11 AM


    if your frat didn’t haze, then it wasn’t a real frat.

    But yeah, ever since FAMU kids dying is big news here.

  5. thraiderskin says: Sep 26, 2012 10:09 AM

    I was just glad it wasn’t my fraternity… We also had a no “hazing” policy, but there was still a little innocent hazing. Nothing like beatings or forced death marches, but by definition, it existed. I do not believe that you should beat people, then ask them to trust and respect you.

    This story isn’t about hazing, it is about a single player, who might have been representing his fraternity (one of which I loved intimidating back in the day), that severly beat a guest for puking on his couch (allegedly).

  6. rolltide510 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:23 AM

    I roll my eyes a little at the timing, because I have to wonder if Johnson was still a completely unknown walk-on vs. a mostly unknown walk-on starter if this would have ever seen the light of day.

    That being said, I’d give him the boot. No place for #@$! like that in life.

  7. pike573 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:43 AM

    Well at least he didn’t give him an alcohol enema…

    Seriously though, kick this POS off the team.

  8. patall24 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:08 AM

    Hey pike did you see it happen? were you there? do you know for a fact it happened? Ohh okay

  9. WingT says: Sep 26, 2012 11:16 AM

    It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. IF the accusations are accurate I will especially want to see how Saban handles it – I bet he would be very strict.

  10. tlmoon2112 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:24 AM

    Harvey Updyke and Brian Downing LOVE IT.

  11. cometkazie says: Sep 26, 2012 11:25 AM

    My frat banned physical hazing in about 1958 when a pledge died from choking on a piece of liver he was forced to eat. I think this happened at U$C.

    I only got to paddle one year.

  12. mgm36 says: Sep 26, 2012 12:02 PM

    fraternities & sororities = best friends money can buy

  13. Deb says: Sep 26, 2012 1:50 PM

    No disrespect to those of you who are into it, but I’ve always been anti-Greek so none of it makes sense to me. Just last week it occurred to me that my niece, now 9, will probably be a sorority sister one day because that’s her mother’s thing, and I’m still trying to come to grips.

    As for this … it sounds as though no criminal charges have been filed and it’s simply a civil suit. Since no criminal charges are involved and a civil suit won’t come to trial until after the season is over, I doubt Saban will do anything or that it will affect the team in any way. But if the allegations are true, I hope Johnson and his fraternity eventually have to pay through the nose. I have no patience with this kind of barbaric behavior.

  14. bertenheim says: Sep 26, 2012 2:01 PM

    Saban will blame the media.

  15. florida727 says: Sep 26, 2012 2:30 PM

    scalpemseminoles says:
    Sep 26, 2012 9:11 AM
    “if your frat didn’t haze, then it wasn’t a real frat”


    Makes me glad I never joined one then.

  16. dcole001 says: Sep 26, 2012 4:13 PM

    The real question you have to ask is why did person wait almost exactly 2 Year to file Civil Suite? Also why did he not go to the police? Sounds like a money grab to me…

  17. txstatebobcats1868 says: Sep 26, 2012 4:49 PM

    To the dumbass who said the best friends money can buy, if you’ve ever been involved in any club/organization you have to pay for it. You make it sound like we pay each other to be friends with each other. Did you ever stop to think that maybe that money goes to up keep at the house? It’s called putting your money together for a greater good. Also gives us more purchasing power as opposed to you and your 3 friends sharing a 12 pack, while me and 60+ of my bros and their dates wreak havoc in New Orleans.
    Deb: it hard to understand something you’ve never been apart of, I didn’t get it before I joined either. Got me very involved on campus, more inclined to do my schoolwork, and has shown me the experience of a lifetime.
    Greeks are also most likely to give back to their university

  18. txstatebobcats1868 says: Sep 26, 2012 5:12 PM

    scalpemseminoles says:Sep 26, 2012 9:11 AM


    if your frat didn’t haze, then it wasn’t a real frat.

    WORD, but there is a difference between pointless hazing and constructive hazing.

    All fraternities have a national “no hazing” policy, its called liability so the national headquarters dont get sued, even though most have the best lawyers across the country as members. Doesnt mean the local chapters follow it.

    Deb, one more thing, sororites dont haze so you dont have to worry about that!

  19. joeswatzell says: Sep 26, 2012 6:03 PM

    txstatebobcats…your juvenile celebration and admiration of yourselves for “wreaking havoc in NOLA” is exactly the evidence that condemns fraternities and makes me happy I left San Marcos.
    Screw the GREEK system.
    I was proud to be in the LATIN fraternity, Semper Fi.
    Our “brotherhood” is not paid for with financial dues.
    You and your “bros”? All flash and no substance.

  20. Deb says: Sep 26, 2012 9:02 PM

    @txstatebobcats …

    Thank you. My sis-in-law is a fine person and a great mom. She’s also very active in the community–not just with “social” charities, but doing a lot of grunt work like feeding the homeless. Many of my friends have been in fraternities and sororities. I’m just not comfortable with the conformity or exclusionary nature of the Greek system. However, I can see the social benefits it would provide.

  21. txstatebobcats1868 says: Sep 27, 2012 12:11 AM

    Joeswatzell: there is a Latin fraternity?
    I used wreaking havoc as a figure of speech for we do funner/cooler things than you. Our brotherhood isn’t paid through financial dues, it comes together through blood, sweat, and tears. And for bringing up semper fi, one of my closest brothers is a marine so don’t try to pull that shit, we have multiple servicemen, willing to bet more than your Latin fraternity because we can actually get more than 5 members. We’re glad you left San Marcos, and I bet you have never given a penny back to the university have you?? I’m still in school and am already a donor, with my own hard earned money. You see that new stadium? Payed for by a Greek. The athletic administration building, payed for by a Greek. The new baseball and softball fields, you guesses it, payed for by a Greek. South land conference exit fees, payed by a Greek. And for your comment on substance, how much did you do to help out the community in your time here? Nothing? That’s what I thought. If you wanna see how much we raise in philanthropy and how many hours of community service we do per semester and compare it to the nothing your organization did, visit the gin system at txstate’s webpage.

  22. kozbee says: Sep 27, 2012 10:23 AM

    Most teens can`t hold down what they drink when they drink over the limit.Johnson on the other hand had to many to want to beat and kick a kid in the head till close to killing him.No place in college for players of this type.He needs time behind bars to understand its cheaper to buy a couch then beat a guy close to killing him by stomping and kicking in the head.Bama i hope your AD and coach Saban can see this from another side and boot this kid from entering any kind of sports cause there is no room for those that want to carry on as stupid as Johnson has.

  23. Deb says: Sep 27, 2012 11:53 AM

    @kozbee …

    If it’s true. But with no criminal charges filed, I don’t see how the coaches can just kill this kid’s career based on a civil suit filed two years after the fact. If it’s true, like I said, Johnson should pay through the nose. But the allegations have to be proved.

  24. joeswatzell says: Sep 27, 2012 5:52 PM

    Dear txstatebobcat. Thanks for showing your ignorance in case anyone had missed it.
    Semper Fi? Latin. Semper Fidelis. Sound familiar? It IS the Marine Corps fraternity you nit wit, so good luck on your higher membership count.
    As for my contributions to the University of Florida (my alma mater)…they are happy. No I didn’t pay for an entire new stadium, but I chipped in.
    As for community service, I helped clean the Guadalupe River after you and your obnoxiously drunken “bros” trashed it on Spring break and Labor Day.

  25. mauldawg says: Sep 27, 2012 9:52 PM

    To txstatebobcat still showing the world you are a jackass.
    Just another leach living off the blood of real Americans.Semper Fidelis is one saying he has never heaed of.Most little boys like him just run and hide.His heros are most likely Clinton,BHO and all the other trash.Bet Jane Fonda is the love of his life. USAF 70-91

  26. txstatebobcats1868 says: Oct 1, 2012 2:49 AM

    joeswatzell: we dont go on the guadalupe and if we did we still wouldnt trash it seeing as how I help clean up on the San Marcos river.

    Mauldawg: yes working multiple jobs in college without taking out loans from the government makes me a leach?? Clintion?? are you kidding me? Try W

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