University of Tennessee football coach Butch Jones told one of his players he “betrayed the team” after the wide receiver helped a woman who said she was raped by two other football players, according to a new legal filing in a sweeping lawsuit filed by six women against Tennessee.
Sophomore Drae Bowles “broke down and cried” after speaking with his coach, the lawsuit said.
Jones later called Bowles back to apologize for calling him “a traitor to the team,” according to the suit.
The two calls with Jones came after Bowles was punched in the mouth and bloodied by teammate Curt Maggitt as retribution inside the UT locker room, according to the new filing.
Bowles, who transferred to UT Chattanooga shortly after the alleged November 2014 incidents, provided the account of events in a sworn declaration filed in federal court in Nashville. In the statement, Bowles acknowledged he might be called as a witness and is willing to testify in the case.
In a statement late Wednesday, Jones denied the allegations and called them “false attacks on my character.”
“The assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false,” Jones said in the statement issued through the university.
“To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question. During the course of the judicial process, campus officials, as well as the young man’s own words, will clearly establish that I have done nothing wrong,” Jones said. “I will fight all of these false attacks on my character, and I know that once this process has been completed, my reputation will be affirmed.”
The new legal filing is the latest in the ongoing federal lawsuit that has brought renewed scrutiny to UT’s athletics department. Also on Wednesday, two new women claiming they were also sexually assaulted by football players joined the lawsuit.
SOURCE: Nate Rau and Matt Slovin