Baylor Associate Athletic Director on Leave After Allegedly Choking Reporter

Micheal Johnson

Following multiple incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault, and animal cruelty it seems we can believe any crazy story that comes out of the Baylor University football program.

Add on top of the smoldering heap of this once relevant program the story of Baylor Associate Athletic Director Heath Nielsen, who allegedly choked a reporter after a football game and now finds himself on administrative leave.

According to USA Today:

Police charged Heath Nielsen, Baylor’s associate athletic director for communications, after James McBride, a reporter from the Keller, Texas-based Texas Blaze News, told authorities that Nielsen assaulted him Nov. 5 after the Bears’ 62-22 loss to TCU in Waco, Texas. According to Waco TV station KWTX, McBride said he was attempting to take a photograph with a Baylor football player when Nielsen grabbed him by the throat and pushed him away, saying McBride was breaking the school’s rules against conducting interviews on the field after games.

Nielsen, who was placed on the leave of absence shortly after the alleged incident, was arrested Nov. 8.

The university said in a statement that it was made aware of the incident involving Nielsen “shortly after the game and took immediate action to address it with him through the University’s human resources process. We will continue to handle this personnel matter internally.”

Nielsen released a statement through an attorney, explaining his side of the story. The statement read, “Shortly after the Baylor vs. TCU football game on November 5th, Heath intervened when he noticed a man attempting to do an unauthorized interview of a student-athlete on the field. The one-sided version of events released by the complainant are not true or accurate. Mr. Nielsen maintains that he intervened to stop the interview, but he did not grab the complainant’s throat. We look forward to vigorously defending Mr. Nielsen and presenting the facts involved in this situation.”

Baylor has their hands full with scandal investigations as evidenced by the university regents’ report and allegations of more than a dozen domestic violence incidents and four gang rapes. At a normal school an associate athletic director choking a reporter would top the list of crises that require the university’s undivided attention. But, of course, that would be the case at a normal school…

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn


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