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Tennessee players defend environment of team amid lawsuit

Tennessee players defended the environment of the football program at a team event. 

Tennessee players defended the culture of the program at the football networking event Thursday.

Tennessee has been the subject of national scrutiny since a Title IX lawsuit was filed against the school earlier this month. Eight women are accusing the school of enabling a “hostile sexual environment” that allegedly favors athletes in particular. 

“We got great guys in the locker room and none of us are perfect,” Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin said, according to Knox News. "None of y'all are perfect. Nobody outside of here is perfect."

Both Reeves-Mabin and offensive lineman Kyler Kerbyson said they were not aware of an attack on former receiver Drae Bowles, who was allegedly assaulted by teammate Curt Maggit in November 2014 for helping an alleged rape victim who accused two other players. 

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Browles temporarily left the team after November, but returned to the Volunteers and stayed with them through their bowl game in January before transferring schools.

“He has his side of the story,” Reeves-Maybin said. “But he was still around us every day. …Truly deep down inside everyone knows there's no hostile environment here.”

The federal lawsuit accuses 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.”

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Tennessee is already subject of two Title IX investigations initiated by the federal government after complaints against the school in June and July of last year.