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Recent former Northwestern player: Allegations of hazing are “100% true”

The former player details the hazing incidents he witnessed and claims that both Pat Fitzgerald and assistant coaches knew of hazing.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Northwestern at Iowa

Following two former Northwestern players alleging details of coerced sexual hazing in The Daily Northwestern and to ESPN, another has come forward to confirm that such activities did occur.

A recent former Wildcat — who requested anonymity — said that the reports shared in prior articles are “100% true.”

“All those things happened,” the player said.

This player shared that while he never witnessed any incidents of “running,” in which players are “restrained by a group of 8-10 upperclassmen dressed in various ‘Purge-like’ masks, who would then begin ‘dry-humping’ the victim in a dark locker room,” he has heard players “laugh about it.” The player also revealed that he saw “Shrek’s List,” naked bear crawls and other activities occur.

Moreover, the player said that players engaged in “rap battles” in which players would “encourage you to say gay, homosexual things.” According to the player, these “rap battles” occurred in the locker room or other private spaces “where there’s no coaches around.”

In accordance with prior reporting, the player confirmed he saw a whiteboard in the team’s locker room that referenced “running.” Further, the player affirmed that Pat Fitzgerald did the “Shrek clap,” which was a “slow clap over your head.”

“That used to happen all the time,” the player said, adding that he was unsure if Fitzgerald used it to signify players selected for “running.”

Regarding the scale of the hazing, the player referred to it as “widespread,” noting it was not just based on position groups. Additionally, the player feels that the hazing has been a long-standing problem at Northwestern.

“They all say it’s been happening before,” the player said. “It’s been happening before just this year.”

The player said he’s “sure” that Fitzgerald was aware of the behaviors that occurred, but that “nobody in the program” brought it to him as a “problem.” He added that “the assistant coaches and everybody else knew,” emphasizing that particularly those who had been at Northwestern longer “definitely know about it.”

As for why nobody intervened to stop hazing behaviors, the player suggested that teammates may have been “enjoying” the activities, and that such practices were how they “had fun.”

“That’s how they would bond,” the player said. “They’re all in there laughing and stuff. They could be affected, but they’re in there laughing.”

The player posited that he never saw anybody become distraught because of hazing, but some “kids would resist it.” In part, the lack of visible, tangible harm is why he thinks nothing was shut down.

“If a kid would have came up to [Fitzgerald] at the time and felt like they really had been violated, he may have addressed it,” the player said.

The player shared that he was contacted by the university’s investigation team in December, which was led by Maggie Hickey of ArentFox Schiff. In Northwestern’s executive summary, the school reported that “there had been significant opportunities to discover and report the hazing conduct,” but that there was not sufficient evidence “to believe that coaching staff knew about the ongoing hazing conduct.”

The player suggested that if Fitzgerald did know about hazing, he should face a “swift punishment.”

“Not saying he should get fired, but it should be more than just two weeks in July,” the player said. “At the end of the day, you’re responsible for these people when it comes to your program.”

While a myriad of current and former Wildcats expressed support for Fitzgerald and his character, the player chose not to share any reactions to the emerging situation on social media, citing his own privacy. The player said that Fitzgerald is “well-liked throughout the program,” but that his perception or character doesn’t mean he was not cognizant of hazing.

“He could be a nice guy, and still knew that this stuff was going on,” the player said. “Two things could be true.”

As for next steps, the player said he wants the university to send a “message” that such hazing behaviors, involving coercive sexual acts and physical and mental harassment, cannot occur.

“I do think that stuff in the program, whether it’s consensual or not, needs to stop,” the player said. “That shouldn’t be happening at all in a football environment.”