Former Penn State Football Player Alleges Head Coach Told Him Not to Report Fight to Police

Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the fourth quarter at TCFBank Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Former Penn State defensive back Isaiah Humphries said head coach James Franklin told him not to contact police after a fight with a teammate in 2018. The altercation with star linebacker Micah Parsons reportedly involved “punching, choking, and a knife being pulled,” ESPN reported.

A university report obtained by ESPN said, “Mr. Humphries added that Coach Franklin came and said, ‘Don’t talk to the police because Micah is his (star) player and makes money, so if he gets in trouble, he’s gone,’ meaning Mr. Humphries would be gone.”

However, Penn State defended Franklin, saying, “We believe the claims relating to Coach Franklin have no merit, and we will continue to defend him vigorously,” and that Franklin “made it clear that he did not instruct Mr. Humphries to avoid contacting authorities.”

Humphries sued the school this year for sexual assault allegations against Parsons, former defensive tackle Damion Barber, and former defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos that allegedly occurred in the Nittany Lions’ locker room.

According to the report:

Humphries told school investigators that Barber and Parsons threatened him, telling him they were “making me a b—- because this is prison” and that Barber said, “I’m gonna Sandusky you,” referring to former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. He also said they would try to place genitalia close to players’ faces and simulate sex acts and attempt to touch him in the shower, according to the report. He said the three players would wrestle him to the ground while clad only in their towels.

Barber and Gross-Matos denied the allegations. ESPN said Parsons reviewed the draft of the report, but had not returned requests for comment.

Penn State has a long history of making headlines for sexual misconduct allegations. In March, the U.S. Education Department announced it is holding Penn State accountable for failing to protect students from sexual abuse as was discovered during the scandal involving assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

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