A 19-year-old Rutgers cornerback said he quit the team last week because of the way defensive coordinator Dave Cohen bullied him during a study hall session in April. Jevon Tyree said Cohen “called him emasculating names and threatened to head-butt him.” The school said the incident was handled immediately.
“Cohen apologized the following day for his participation in the escalation of banter, which resulted in the use of inappropriate language,” the statement said. “(Head coach) Kyle Flood reprimanded Cohen and addressed the situation immediately with the entire coaching staff.
“This was an isolated incident. At no time was there any threat of physical violence, which was verified by an academic counselor, who was present in the room.”
Rutgers said Tyree’s father Mark talked to new athletic director Julie Hermann in September about the incident, but he strongly denies the meeting took place. His parents believe the punishment did not go far enough. Mark said he wants Cohen to be fired for the damage he caused Tyree. He finally quit on November 6.
Tyree told NJ.com he quit because about 10 teammates and a tutor saw the incident, which later “transferred to the other coaches” and led the redshirt freshman to feel ostracized. Tyree’s parents said the “outright bullying episode” led to decreased repetitions in practice and exclusions from team meetings.
The final straw came Nov. 2 when the Scarlet Knights, whose secondary had been racked by injuries, played a wide receiver at cornerback against Temple instead of Tyree.
“I really think disciplinary action should happen, almost to the point where [Cohen] should get fired. I really do,” Mark Tyree told NJ.com. “That’s how bad it is, especially for the damage he’s done to Jevon.”
Mark asked the head coach how he was going to discipline Cohen, but he refused to tell him. Tyree is still at Rutgers, but wants to transfer.