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Rutgers Football Player Claims Abuse From Assistant Coach

A freshman on the Rutgers football team is claiming abuse by one of the team’s coaches with the school’s response causing further controversy.

Rutgers Defensive Coordinator Dave Cohen
Rutgers Defensive Coordinator Dave Cohen (Rutgers)

Defensive back Jevon Tyree from Somerset and his parents, Mark and Clarice tell NJ.com that defensive coordinator Dave Cohen called him derogatory names and threatened to head butt him last spring and that other members of the coaching staff joined in.

Jevon said the incident stemmed from what he calls a poor first impression made during spring camp because of a bad hamstring injury. “I injured my hamstring pretty bad — popped it — so I was out for almost a week,” Tyree told NJ.com. “I don’t know if (Cohen) was thinking I was trying to avoid taking reps or I was faking or what, but later on that kind of led to Coach Cohen having derogatory words toward me as a player. I was a little confused because it was our first time actually interacting with each other.”

That incident led to the name calling incident during a study hall in front of other members of the team and a tutor. Jevon believes he was excluded from several team meetings and his playing time reduced, culminating in his being passed over in his own position during Rutgers’ game last week with Temple for a converted played.  On Wednesday Jevon came to the realization on Wednesday he “wasn’t supposed to be a Rutgers football player” and went to head coach Kyle Flood. Jevon describes Flood’s reaction as a ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude” as he prepared paperwork.

“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.”

Jevon is planning to transfer to another school. He is a cousin of Giants Super Bowl 42 hero David Tyree according to ABC News.

Controversial Response

 

Julie Hermann
Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann (Getty Images)

Rutgers issued a statement that the situation was “dealt with immediately,” Cohen apologized to Tyree, Flood reprimanded Cohen and “addressed the situation immediately with the entire coaching staff.” The school said that Athletic Director Julie Hermann, who was not AD when the incident took place, met with Jevon’s parents and Flood and that the episode was brought to an end to everyone’s satisfaction.

Jevon’s father Mark calls the response “insane” and say he never talked to Hermann despite several attempts at a meeting. “I never talked to her. That is insane,” Mark Tyree said. “My mother has passed and I would put my hand on a stack of Bibles in her goodness. That’s ridiculous that she would even say that. That’s scary.”

He told the Bergen Record, “I don’t even know what (Hermann’s) voice sounds like.

Mark, who played on Rutgers’ lacrosse team in 1979, was hoping to handle it with Flood and Cohen. However, Mark says Flood was not forthcoming during their meeting on how he would handle the situation. Accordng to Mark, Flood told him, ‘Mr. Tyree, I’m not going to tell you how I discipline my coaches.’

Mark showed up unannounced at Hermann’s office on Thursday and is may ask the NCAA to investigate the incident.

Cohen was the head coach at Hofstra Univeristy when the school ended their football program in 2009 according to his biography on the Rutgers website. He was brought to Rutgers as linebacker coach and was promoted this season to defensive coordinator.

Rutgers is coming back from another bullying incident involving then-head basketball coach Mike Rice caught on video throwing basketballs at his players during practice and calling them derogatory names. The airing of the video by ESPN led to his firing along with that of AD Tim Pernetti. Hermann was hired as his replacement but not before allegations of her handling of a bullying situation at the University of Tennessee.

MORE COVERAGE:

Rutgers Athletics Statement Regarding Jevon Tyree

The situation between Jevon Tyree and Dave Cohen took place in the spring and was dealt with immediately.

Cohen apologized the following day for his participation in the escalation of banter, which resulted in the use of inappropriate language. 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.

Six months later, Tyree’s father contacted Director of Athletics Julie Hermann to discuss Jevon’s role on the team and how coaching decisions were made. During the conversation withHermann, Tyree’s father reintroduced the March situation.

Since the situation occurred prior to Hermann’s arrival, she immediately contacted Flood, who apprised her of the situation and how it was addressed.

To be sure, Flood initiated an additional meeting with Tyree and his parents to address their concerns and his future with the team. The following morning, September 17, Tyree informed Flood of his intention to remain with the program.

Hermann spoke to Tyree’s father following the meeting with Flood and confirmed that the matter was resolved to his satisfaction.

Tyree voluntarily left the football program November 6.

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