Rutgers Football Player Says He Was Verbally Abused, Quits Team

Former Rutgers University defensive back Jevon Tyree left the school’s football team earlier this month after alleging one of the assistant coaches verbally abused and physically threatened him.

Tyree, a freshman, said defensive coordinator Dave Cohen called him emasculating names and threatened to head-butt him during a study hall session in April, according to the website NJ.com.

Rutgers said in a statement yesterday the incident was “dealt with immediately.” The school said Cohen apologized the following day and was reprimanded by head coach Kyle Flood, who immediately addressed the situation with his entire staff.

“This was an isolated incident,” the school said in the statement. “At no time was there any threat of physical violence, which was verified by an academic counselor, who was present in the room.”

The incident took place the same month the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based school fired men’s basketball coach Mike Rice for physically and verbally lashing out at players during practice while using gay slurs and vulgarities. Athletic director Tim Pernetti left the school days later over his handling of the situation.

It also coincides with a claim by Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin that he was bullied and harassed by teammate Richie Incognito. The National Football League is investigating the incident.

Son’s Role

Tyree told NJ.com the incident happened in front of about 10 teammates and a tutor and led to him being ostracized. The 19-year-old quit the football program on Nov. 6.

Rutgers said in its statement that Tyree’s father, Mark, contacted new athletic director Julie Hermann to discuss his son’s role on the team and brought up the incident. Flood then met with the Tyree family and Jevon said he would 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,” the school’s statement read.

Tyree’s parents disagreed with the school’s statement, saying they never spoke to Hermann and only met with Flood after calling him. NJ.com said. They’ve continued to pursue the matter and want the school to discipline Cohen.

Jevon Tyree is still attending classes at Rutgers but plans to transfer to another school, NJ.com said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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