Saturday, July 8, 2023

Remarkable allegations that sexual assault is practiced as a matter of routine by the Northwestern football program

ESPN, CNN, and the Chicago Sun-Times have brief summaries, but the real write-up so far is in the Daily Northwestern. First, from Northwestern's press release:

On November 30, 2022, Northwestern University received a complaint from an anonymized email address alleging hazing in the Northwestern Football Program. The University immediately retained an outside investigator ... to conduct a thorough investigation


the investigation team determined that the complainant’s claims were largely supported by the evidence gathered during the investigation, including separate and consistent first-person accounts from current and former players


The investigation team did not discover sufficient evidence to believe that coaching staff knew about the ongoing hazing conduct. They determined, however, that there had been significant opportunities to discover and report the hazing conduct


Head coach Fitzgerald has been placed on a two-week suspension without pay, beginning immediately

The Daily Northwestern details the alleged (semi-substantiated?) sexual abuse: 

According to the former player, team members allegedly identified players for “running” by clapping their hands above their heads around that player. The practice, the player said, was known within the team as “the Shrek clap.” 

The Daily obtained a video of a player clapping his hands during a game, which the anonymous player said was the same motion taken to signify “running.”

According to the player who spoke with The Daily, Fitzgerald repeatedly made the signal during practices when players, specifically freshmen, made a mistake. 


If a player was selected for “running,” the player who spoke to The Daily said, they would be restrained by a group of 8-10 upperclassmen dressed in various “Purge-like” masks, who would then begin “dry-humping” the victim in a dark locker room. 

Other forms of sexual assault are detailed in the article. The head coach expressed "disappointment': 

Here's a denial insisting they don't "tolerate hazing in any form":