A college football player is suing the University of Virginia for promoting a culture of “bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination” in the school’s football program.
In a lawsuit filed last Friday, Aiden Howard alleged that he was routinely mocked and humiliated by his teammates, who regularly called him “retarded” due to his learning disability.
The former Virginia receiver also claims upperclassmen forced him into a staged fight, which left him with a broken eye socket, before he eventually left the program and transferred to Robert Morris.
According to the suit, the athlete started getting bullied by the other players because he wasn’t manly enough, specifically naming defendants Doni Dowling and David Eldridge for targeting him “because of his soft-spoken and mild-mannered nature.”
The suit goes on to say coaches did nothing to stop the harassment, and claims wide receivers coach Marques Hagan enabled the abuse by harassing Howard himself, stating:
“[They] would question Aidan’s ‘toughness’ and ‘manliness’ and would call him ‘stupid,’ ‘dumb,’ ‘slow,’ and ‘retarded.'”
Howard alleges that on August 12, 105 people watched him have a staged prize fight in the locker room against another player, which left him with a concussion and a broke orbital bone.
On top of that, Howard claims freshman players were forced to participate in “wrestling matches while naked or partially naked, an act referred to at UVA as ‘ramming.'”
Whoa. We bet Donald Trump couldn’t even last in that locker room!
Howard is suing the university and six individual defendants on six counts, including violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The player’s attorney C. James Zeszutek said:
“We want some accountability by the university and the student-athletes who were responsible for doing this to Aidan. Now these student-athletes are continuing to play their sport, continuing to attend classes, and there’s been no ramifications to them whatsoever. Our client is a victim who has been injured, damaged and he’s out of competition this year.”