Tennessee coach Butch Jones told a player he “betrayed the team” after helping a woman who said she was raped by two other football players, according to an affidavit filed in a sexual assault lawsuit against the school.
The Tennessean first reported the contents of the filing.
The affidavit accuses Jones of calling then sophomore receiver Drae Bowles a “traitor” for helping the alleged accuser. Jones later called back and apologized. The coach’s conversation with Bowles came after the receiver was assaulted by teammate Curt Maggitt in retaliation for helping the woman, according to the lawsuit.
The alleged incidents occurred in November 2014. Bowles transferred to UT Chattanooga soon after.
Jones issued the following statement on Wednesday night that condemns the allegations:
“The assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false. To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question. During the course of the judicial process, campus officials, as well as the young man's own words, will clearly establish that I have done nothing wrong. I will fight all of these false attacks on my character, and I know that once this process has been completed, my reputation will be affirmed.”
The legal filing is the latest allegation in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by six women accusing the university of enabling sexual assault through its campus culture, especially by favoring athletes. Wednesday, two more women claiming they were sexually assaulted by football players joined the suit.
The original lawsuit accused five Tennessee athletes of sexual assault: ex-basketball player Yemi Makanjuola, ex-football players A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams and Riyahd Jones and a current football player identified as “John Doe.”
The lawsuit claimed Bowles was attacked by teammates twice after he took one of the women from the filing to the hospital on the night of an alleged rape in November 2014, supporting her in reporting the incident to authorities. The woman accused Johnson and Williams of committing the sexual assault.
Williams allegedly told police another teammate put a “hit” out on Bowles for helping the alleged victim.
Johnson and Williams have been charged with two counts of aggravated rape and will each stand trial separately this summer.