As expected, Ole Miss is firmly standing behind its men.
Wednesday, reports surfaced that a handful of Rebel football players were named in a $2 million civil lawsuit, which stemmed from an alleged beating at a frat party around this time last year. Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork subsequently released a statement defending the players, saying “the proper authorities investigated the matter and could find no evidence of wrong-doing.” The players’ head coach followed in his boss’ footsteps, saying that Robert and Denzel Nkemdiche, the two most prominent players named in the suit, have the team’s full support.
“Having spoken with our players after the event occurred and reviewed the incident report,” Hugh Freeze‘s statement began, “we are disappointed these unwarranted allegations are being directed at Denzel and Robert, and they have the full support of our team as they fight this matter.”
The names of the other five football players who are a part of the civil suit have not been named, at least publicly. Bo Wallace and Alex Kamara were included in the police report, although it’s unknown if either are named in the lawsuit. The former was the Rebels’ starting quarterback in every game as a senior in 2013, the latter a defensive back who will be a sophomore in 2014.
While the Ole Miss police department investigated the incident that occurred in mid-February of 2013, no arrests were ever made or charges filed. UPD Captain Michael Harmon told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger shortly after the legal action went public that no one, including the plaintiff in the lawsuit, could positively identify any of the attackers.
The attack left the alleged victim, who according to the suit was coming to the aid of friend, unconscious after being stomped in the head. Matthew Baird, the alleged victim and plaintiff in the lawsuit, was treated for multiple injuries. Baird is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages in the suit that was filed late last week.
Robert Nkemdiche, a freshman All-American defensive end last season, took to Twitter Wednesday night to brush off the accusations.
The defensive lineman’s brother, All-SEC linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, was arrested this past weekend on charges of disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and failure to comply. He was indefinitely suspended by the football program following that legal run-in.