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BREAKING: Northwestern team issues statement denying severity of hazing claims, supports Pat Fitzgerald as coach

The Wildcat team provides its opinion after new claims have surfaced.

Following a report from The Daily Northwestern on Saturday afternoon surrounding Northwestern football’s hazing allegations — with two former players providing graphic details about supposed unwanted sexual activities and other forms of physical and emotional harassment — the NU team has responded to claims.

In a statement provided to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, the team emphasized its lack of tolerance for hazing, calling the reported incidents “exaggerated and twisted,” as well as “fabrications.” Additionally, the team expressed faith in the university’s third-party investigation, led by Maggie Hickey of ArentFox Schiff, which it deemed “rigorous.”

Notably, the team posited that head coach Pat Fitzgerald “was not involved in any of the alleged incidents in any way, shape or form.” Moreover, the team reflected support for Fitzgerald to remain its head coach.

While the statement is issued on behalf of the “ENTIRE” team, it is unknown how many players helped craft the document, let alone endorse it. The same applies to other integral members such as coaches, assistants and other staffers.

The team’s response contradicts what was reported in The Daily Northwestern Saturday afternoon, with two former players contending that Fitzgerald “repeatedly” made signals during team practice to mimic a “running” hazing act. The practice allegedly involved players being “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.”

Neither The Daily Northwestern nor the players who shared details have yet to respond to the team’s letter. Additionally, it is unknown how, if at all, the university will alter its punishment for Fitzgerald — for now, a two-week suspension — subsequent to the latest allegations being released.

Stay tuned to Inside NU for further updates as this situation continues to develop.